Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s post! Yesterday, we talked about drama my client had around dishes and her child. Today, I want to talk about drama she had when it came to those same dishes and her husband.
Now, before we start out, I want to take a moment to note that there is no right or wrong answer about what to do here. Only options! For example, there is the option of doing the dishes and being ok with the child being upset while you do it if need be, there is the option of finding creative ways to involve the child in the task of doing the dishes, there is the option of letting the dishes sit and spending time with the child, and there is always the option of just not doing the dishes. And, with this last option, just because you don’t do them doesn’t have to mean they don’t get done (though that is also an option, ha!) – another family member could help with the dishes or you could even hire someone to come do the dishes if you wanted to. There is never anything that you have to do – everything we do or don’t do is always our choice.
So, now that we’ve set that stage, it’s also important to note that all of the options I came up with here are actions, meaning we would put them in the A-Line of the Model. The same actions done from different energies create different results. That is, imagine if you are feeling excited while taking any of these actions. Excited is going to create a completely different experience for you than if you are feeling sad taking these actions.
Let’s get back to our conversation.
During the session with my client, she felt like what she wanted to do was do the dishes quick, allow her son to have his own experience of that, and then spend time with him. At this point, because I like to explore the options with my clients, I asked her, out of curiosity, if she felt like that was what had to happen if she wanted to be able to present with her child.
Her answer was yes. And I think this happens for a lot of us, right? We feel the need to get things done so we don’t have to think about the things that need to be done while we’re with our kids. So we can be more present with them and engage with them more. But, then, the problem is that there are always things to be done and we beat ourselves up for not managing it all better so we could show up the way we want to mentally for our kids.
Can you relate?!
Often, it doesn’t even occur to us that dishes could be in the sink (or some other task left undone) and it doesn’t have to mean that we are any less present with our kids, if that is what we want to choose in that particular scenario.
So, I asked my client what she would think about just leaving the dishes in the sink.
Her response was that mess doesn’t bother her, though she prefers it clean because it feels better. Her husband, however, likes the house very orderly, and her thoughts are that it stresses him out if the house isn’t that way. So, she then worries about what her husband will think.
And, like many of us, she has a tendency to make those dishes in the sink mean some painful things about herself.
Here were some of her thoughts:
- I’m lazy.
- I can’t manage the household.
- I’m not a good partner to him.
- I’m not pulling my weight.
- I’m not earning the privilege to be with my kid.
- I can’t keep up my end of things.
- I should be doing more than I am.
- I’m falling short.
Such painful thoughts for us to think about ourselves, ya? Imagine saying these sorts of things to a friend you love who has dishes in her sink (or some other such chore not yet completed).
- You’re lazy.
- You can’t manage your household.
- You’re not a good partner to your husband.
- You’re not pulling your weight.
- You’re not earning the privilege to be with your kid.
- You can’t keep up your end of things.
- You should be doing more than you are.
- You’re falling short.
- No matter what you do, it’s not enough.
Phew. I can’t say for sure, but I’m willing to bet these are not the sorts of things you would say to your friend. And yet, these are the types of things we say to ourselves all the time. And then, we wonder why our relationship with ourselves suffers and why we can’t trust ourselves to follow-through. So, take a minute and image – what would you say to someone you love if their situation were exactly what yours was? How would that change the words you say?
Take time to do that exercise – and I’d love to hear what you come up with!
In the meantime, let’s walk through just one of the thoughts listed above – the one my client and I worked through together.
The circumstance in this scenario is simply that 1) there are dishes in the sink after dinner and 2) my client is on the couch with her son.
As my client imagines this scenario, she sees herself, again, thinking about the dishes while she’s with her son. Thinking, “I’m not a good partner.”
When she thinks that thought, she feels sad.
When she feels sad because she’s thinking she’s not a good partner, she becomes very introverted. She shuts down communication. She lets herself go to the place in her mind where she feels like maybe they’re just not a good, compatible couple. And then she gets more sad about that, and it spirals.
The result? The result, my friends, is that she takes actions that has her showing up as not a good partner (in terms of how she defines it).
So, she FIRST thinks she’s not a good partner and THEN takes actions to prove that true for herself.
This is really important, because this doesn’t mean that she is inherently not a good partner. But the brain is like a computer, and thoughts are like the programs or commands. When you tell a computer to execute a program or command, it does so. And our brains are the same way. When we believe a thought, the brain runs that model and ultimately creates evidence that thought is true.
We think the thought, “I’m not a good partner.” THEN, we feel a certain way. And, IF we act from that feeling, we create evidence for it. We make it MORE true for ourselves. Easier to believe. And then we look at our past and the actions we’ve taken and say, “SEE! I’m not a good partner.” But we aren’t even realizing that it is THAT THOUGHT that created that evidence in the first place.
It’s fascinating to think about. And again, it is the math for how self-fulfilling prophecies work. What we think about ourselves lays the blueprint for how we act going into our future. If we want to show up differently or create a different result for ourselves, it simply means thinking and believing differently. Simple doesn’t mean easy, but it is worth it!
Now, let’s keep going with this model, because I want to show you another thing that can happen here.
So often, when we have a thought like, “I’m not a good partner,” we can then have thoughts about that thought that aren’t serving us. In my client’s case, as she thought about this, her brain then wanted to go to defending herself and blaming her husband – cause her brain is viewing “I’m not a good partner” as a FACT instead of viewing it as an optional THOUGHT. (This is what our brains do by default!!)
When she thinks about how she “wasn’t a good partner,” she thinks, “He doesn’t notice all the good things I do.”
And, when she thinks this thought, she feels totally unappreciated. She feels short changed.
When she feels this way, she acts more defensively. She starts thinking about everything she does around the house that goes “unnoticed.” Anger pops up for her and she starts fighting with him in her mind. Then she bottles that up inside. Later on, she finds herself debating with her husband about things that aren’t that important at all, trying to prove she can do things or be right in some other facet of the world. She is more combative in conversation, playing devil’s advocate right off the bat and pointing out all the things that could go wrong.
The result? The result is that she also doesn’t notice or appreciate herself for the things she does AND she doesn’t notice all the good things her husband does. In fact, she puts herself in a place of working to make him wrong about things. All of this, of course, provides additional reasons for her to be able to keep thinking that her husband doesn’t notice all the good things she does.
Can you relate to this pattern?!
I know I can, ha!
Again, it is important to note here that the result is created by the thinking. Not by the dishes in the sink. Not by what the husband says or doesn’t say. Not by what the husband does or doesn’t do.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does; our thoughts, feelings, actions, and results are always on us. They are always our responsibility. And that is why coaching is so important, cause it is not the brain’s default to take responsibility. If our problems are someone else’s fault, there is nothing we can do. We get to play the victim card and we don’t have to do the work. Our brains see this as efficiency, and our brains like to be efficient!
But, here’s why this is the best news ever that it is our responsibility…
And that is because when we take full responsibility for all of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and results, we have the power to create whatever results we want to create in our life, and we’re not subject to the external world.
And that my friends? That is MAGIC.
In this scenario, when we realize that the husband CAN’T actually ever give us appreciation – that appreciation is always something we create FOR OURSELVES by the way we CHOOSE TO THINK – we then have the power to create more of what we want (appreciation) for ourselves, without needing anyone else to give it to us.
And, if you relate to any of what I have written here, let me ask you the same question I posed to my client: What would it be like to appreciate yourself more? To tell yourself thank you and really feel that?
When you are able to do that, you won’t need appreciation for your husband the way you think you do now. And, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if you are a good partner, regardless of what anyone else might actually think – including your husband.
When you choose how to spend your time consciously, with intention, and you like your reasons, you typically like how you show up. And when you are solid in all of that, it doesn’t matter what anyone things about it.
Inner peace is the ultimate reward.
Can you create more of that for yourself?
P.S. If you’d like help figuring out the drama around the circumstances in your life, book a free session with me!!
The pilot program I’ve been doing is coming to an end next week, and I have spots opening starting the week after that. I’ll help you understand where you are now and where you want to go, including any obstacles that are in your way. We will talk about what your problem is and how to solve it. I will help you take this work to a new level.
Click here to book now; and if none of the available spots work for you, message me with your availability and I’ll do my best to find a time that works for both of us!