I just finished the audiobook “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis and had some time to sit and think about what she shared. In the book, Rachel shares twenty lies and misconceptions that hold us back from living joyfully and productively. These lies have been taught to us from an early age and we perpetuate them by believing them so much, we don’t question their validity.
In addition to Rachel’s, I had also read another book a while ago about what happy working mothers know and literally yelled out loud “NO!!” (I’ll explain why later). Unfortunately there are so many unintentional lies taught to young girls that get passed down and then passed on. It can be a shock to the system to really take a good hard look at what’s true and what’s false.
From an early age your parents most likely taught you right from wrong. They taught you how to treat others as you would want to be treated. You learned what was considered appropriate and were reprimanded when you weren’t following the rules. You were taught to not question authority, to respect your elders and how to behave.
Basically from a young age you were taught what to believe about the world. Those programmed thoughts have been running in the background of your mind and if you aren’t careful, you may assume that everything you’ve been told is true.
This week I’m going to discuss two lies, two truths and how to help your children not repeat the cycle.
Lie #1 – People can hurt your feelings
This is a big one! This belief begins at a very early age when we hear things like:
- You hurt mommy’s feelings
- Don’t say that or you’ll hurt your daddy’s feelings
- Did your friend hurt your feelings?
This message is disempowering and puts you in the role of victim or perpetrator. It can also lead to co-dependency where you believe that your mood is dependent on someone else’s behavior. If you believe that other people can hurt your feelings then you need them to change in order for you to feel better.
As we get older this belief that other people can hurt our feelings can show up in damaging ways to our relationships with others and with ourselves:
- I’m so upset that he said that he didn’t want to help me
- She didn’t agree with me and now I feel hurt
- He wanted to stay at the babysitter’s instead of coming home with me and now I feel like a horrible mom
When you believe the lie that other people can hurt your feelings, you are at the mercy of everyone and everything being “just right”. If someone has the power to hurt your feelings then the only way to not get hurt is to control other people by controlling what they think about you, what they say about you and what they do to you. It’s futile!
The Truth – In the Manage Your Mind Model that I teach my clients, your feelings comes from your thoughts, not from your circumstances. This is also true for everyone else. No one can cause anyone to feel a feeling, whether that feeling is positive or negative (for help with the Manage Your Mind Model get your free copy here of “5 Simple Steps To Reduce Overwhelm Today”).
By understanding this truth, you liberate yourself and others. You get to decide how you want to feel instead of believing that anyone has that power:
- He said he didn’t want to help me. I can choose to feel grateful by thinking that he wouldn’t have been as supportive as I needed anyway.
- She doesn’t agree with me. I can feel accepting by thinking that we just see things differently and that’s ok.
- He didn’t want to come home with me. I can choose to feel grateful by thinking that I chose a wonderful babysitter that he enjoys being with.
When you live in this truth, you take responsibility for how you feel instead of blaming others.
Lie #2 – Something or someone will make you happy
On the flip side of the lie “People can hurt your feelings” is the lie that “Something or someone will make you happy”. Many of us are taught at an early age to seek material things, situations and people in order to be happy. The attitude that “I’ll be happy when….” can start at an early age and continue into adulthood.
In the book I read about what happy working mothers know, the message I viscerally disagreed with was “We are the CEO’s of our families and just like in the corporate world, we set the tone. The way we feel affects how our family feels.”
WRONG!! So wrong! It’s like the saying “When Mom’s not happy, no one is happy”.
Remember, no one can control how you feel whether you believe it or not. For way too long this horrible message has been given to mothers, adding to their already heavy baggage.
This puts ridiculous, unnecessary pressure on mothers to feel a certain way or else their family will be affected. This lie sets mothers up to deny their feelings by acting “as if”. This denial of emotions can lead to overeating, overdrinking or overdoing to compensate for the negative emotions you don’t want to accept.
The Truth – By allowing your feelings instead of denying them, you can actually understand where they are coming from. The awareness of the thoughts that have created your feelings empowers you to make choices about how you would like to feel and the thoughts that support that feeling.
Learning to be an emotional adult is about taking 100% responsibility for how you feel based on what you think. The truth is that your thoughts are always your choice. To believe that anyone or anything else is responsible for how you feel is emotional childhood.
The truth is that if someone is happy, they are having thoughts creating the feeling of happiness. If they are feeling sad, they are having thoughts creating the feeling of sadness. You do not need to jump through hoops to make anyone happy or less sad. Allowing yourself and others to have your feelings without needing to change them is the road to unconditional love.
By using the Manage Your Mind Model, my clients learn how to get in touch with their feelings, find the true cause and take control of their lives. They learn that it’s not necessary for circumstances to change in order to feel better. Our thoughts are within our control and that’s the only thing that we need to change if we choose to.
Once you make the connection for yourself, you can then help your children understand where their feelings come from.
How to help our children
Teaching working mothers to manage their minds and then showing them how to be an example to their children is how we break the cycle and change the world for the better.
By teaching children they have every right to their feelings you can help them get in touch with what a feeling actually feels like. You can show them that feelings aren’t scary. You can teach them that their feelings are within their control based on the thoughts they choose. You can teach them that they aren’t responsible for how others feel and that they can choose thoughts on purpose.
For example, when I was younger and my dad came home in a bad mood I would get nervous. His negative feelings were scary to me. I would act like a “good girl” because in my child’s mind, this would help him to be in a better mood. Fast forward to being an adult and my husband would come home in a bad mood. I had that same child-like concern and would act like a “good wife” so he would be in a better mood
Then I learned about the lies I’ve just shared and I finally understood that other people’s feelings are based on their thoughts just like my feelings are based on my thoughts. Now my husband coming home in a bad mood is not an issue. I remind myself that he’s just thinking thoughts that are creating his feelings and that that is perfectly fine. I know that the best thing I can do is let him have his feelings and manage my own mind while he’s feeling those feelings.
You have choices when it comes to teaching your children about feelings:
- Teaching children that they should be happy when they aren’t is denying them their right to having their feelings.
- Teaching children the reason for their feelings is their thoughts is empowering.
- Teaching by example is life changing.
The great thing about managing your own mind is that you can then be an example for your children about how to give everyone else permission to feel however they want to, without it affecting you.
That is true freedom!!
- It’s a lie that people can hurt your feelings
- The truth is that you are responsible for how you feel based on your thoughts
- It’s a lie that something or someone will make you happy
- The truth is that the feeling of happiness comes from your thoughts
- Allowing your children to have their feelings, teaching them where their feelings come from and showing them by your example is how you stop the cycle of lies
If you’d like some help exploring the connection between your thoughts and your feelings, please feel free to schedule a free mini session or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get to work together.