Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 1 - "I love you enough..."

My son is going through an argumentative phase. This phase started when he was pretty small and I get the odd feeling it will continue the rest of his life, so maybe "phase" isn't the right word, and maybe "argumentative" isn't, either. My son just has to push boundaries, to see what he can get to happen his way, and what will happen in response if the answer is that he can't. He likes to have things on his terms (who doesn't?) and is very vocal about it when he's unhappy about the way something is going.

On the flip side, he's also very vocal when he is happy. Pretty much, the kid is just very vocal. And I think the boundary-pushing that frustrates us, as his parents, while he is four, will be a fabulous trait when he is older.

The past few days I've been experimenting with some new wording when I am setting boundaries that he's not happy with. Instead of arguing or explaining or reminding him that "we're working on listening the first time right now, remember?" or what have you, what I've started doing is giving him a hug and saying, "I love you enough to teach you about boundaries," or, "I love you enough to teach you to be a responsible person and make good choices." In this way, instead of one of us "winning" an argument, it's a reminder (to both of us) that I'm doing what I am because I love him and want him to learn good habits.

I got to thinking this morning about how I could apply this concept to myself. I tend to have internal arguments with myself, and to rebel against the "rules" I put in place for myself to follow. Simply put, I don't like have-to's, even if they're my have-to's. I give myself lots of choices. But still I catch myself losing momentum (or not even being able to get momentum in the first place) on things that I would really like for myself to learn. So I wondered, what if I were to change the wording with myself? Instead of telling myself I "have to" do something or that it would be "good for me" to learn to be more responsible with this or that, what if I told myself, "I love you enough to teach you to be a responsible person and make good choices?" If I came at my list of have-to's and ought-to's and keep-intending-to's from a position of love thyself, how much better might those healthy decisions feel?

What about you -- how do you talk to yourself about your I-really-ought-to's? How effective is it, and what might make it feel better?

1 comment:

Kim said...

It all depends on who the "must do" "have to" "should do" "keep intending to" is for. I will always let myself down. Well, I shouldn't say ALWAYS, I should say most of the time. If it's for my mother it probably will get done because usually it's easier to complete the task than it is to listen to her if I don't. If it's for my children, well, it depends on what it is and the energy output related to completing said task. If it's for Phillip, see "it's for my mother" generally for the same reasons. I suppose I should do more for myself. Gee I'm tired, I think I'll take a nap and work on that momentum tomorrow...