My friend is upset. My husband is angry. My child is stressed. My family member is pursuing something I wouldn’t choose for them.
All of these scenarios can trigger a flood of uncomfortable emotions in me. Fear, shame, embarrassment, doubt…to list a few.
For many years I responded to these types of triggers by trying to figure out how to fix the situation. How can I manage my friend so they aren’t upset? How can I talk my husband out of his anger? How can my child’s school be different to help the stress? How can I impact the family member to change their choice?
All of these responses had something in common- they were focused on changing the other person or place. They also had a similar result. They led to me feeling powerless, frustrated, and angry. And that wouldn’t resolve unless the other person changed. It also put a lot of pressure on the other person to be different to make me feel better.
Then one day my counselor asked me if I realized I was trying to change the other people to regulate my OWN discomfort. A lightbulb went off! The only person in the scenarios I could control was me and it was really unfair to expect someone else to change to make me feel better.
So today I ask myself… do I want to change this person’s behavior so that I feel better? If that is my motivation, then I step back and look at how I can take care of my own emotions and find serenity for myself without it being dependent on the other person’s actions. I can chose to make a request of the person but my serenity can’t be connected to their response.
If you are needing help with this pattern, a counselor can help you shine some light on how to start that process. Mosaics of Mercy can help you locate a counselor that is a fit for you. Reach out to us at mosaicsofmercy.com. There is freedom available to you!