An exercise in the language of love…

I want you to feel the difference between these statements below about two different scenarios… Really say them in a way as if you are hearing your loved one say them to you and notice what senses, thoughts, feelings, reactions come up for you?

“You should have called me when you knew you’d be late. Why didn’t you?”

VERSUS


“I felt very worried when I hadn’t heard from you. It’s hard for me to understand how you couldn’t call me. I need to know you are safe. In the future, please call me as soon as you are aware you may be late.”

Try this one:

“You should have come to the party. Everyone was asking me why you weren’t there.”


VERSUS


“I missed you at the party. Seemed many did too as they asked me where you were. I felt sad thinking that maybe our fight earlier led you to not going. Did it?”

From my experience, the first statements are fear-based reactions. They provoke feelings and negative core beliefs around fears, shame, resentment, insecurity, and inadequacy. They send the message that You should have known better and What the heck is wrong with you?.

The latter responses are loved-based, assertive and seeking to meet vital needs of love, security, safety, connection, and understanding. They send the message that I take responsibility for my own feelings and needs. That I genuinely care about your wellbeing and want you in my life. That I know that you are a good person and something reasonable must have occurred to make you act in this way. We all have valid feelings, needs, points of view and experiences that influence our behaviors and choices.

Loved-based responses with still awaken negative feelings like guilt and sadness thus our loved one will still have defense mechanisms get activated yet when we stay aware of and connected to our loved-based intentions then we create opportunities for deeper healing, connection, and growth. That’s how trust and secure relationships are built. That every time we lose it, we can with confidence know that someone will be there for us no matter what. That they will make time for us because they care about our wellbeing too.

Now because we are human, fear-based reactions and defense mechanisms are normal. We will still have them. The goal is to catch these reactions sooner and make authentic attempts at repair, connect, and understand. We need to accept the reality of the situation and our own role in it. We often aren’t able to do this in the heat of the moment so taking time to pause, self-soothe, reflect and connect to our feelings, thoughts, needs, and intentions. Then make a conscious choice to align our beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions to match that intention as well as get our needs met in a direct, respectful and nurturing way. It’s a win-win. Still not easy yet we will gain so much more in the long run. Embrace fears, love more and trust the process. The key is to send the message that even when we disagree and feel hurt by another, that we will work to understand each other and love each other though because deep down we know we are good, trust-worthy and lovable.

Disclaimer

Positive Reframe shares resources with the intent of the positive progression of informed decision making related to issues associated with emotional, relational, physical and spiritual wellness. While I share personal and professional perspectives, my writings reflect my personal opinion and not intended to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. The online medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and rapport building required for thorough assessment and therapeutic intervention thus the content shared on this page is for informational purposes only. To make well-informed decisions that best meet your family’s unique needs, I highly recommend exploring and researching available options, consulting primary health care providers,  as well as seek referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state of Illinois, USA

Click here to find a therapist near you in USA: https://www.aamft.org/Directories/Find_a_Therapist.aspx

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911 or visit your local emergency room

Call 1-800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Text 741741 from anywhere in the USA https://www.crisistextline.org/

Outside of US, check out: http://www.defyingmentalillness.com/worldwide-suicide-help…/

The Halloween Dread Reframe

Every Halloween, my son wants to make his own costume. The therapist and educator in me absolutely loves his initiative, determination, creativity, high standards and resourcefulness The mom in me gets triggered and dreads this. All I see are the barriers, the frustrations, hard work, messes, costs, and disappointment. It happened again this year where he feels my dread and it brings him down. I know it is not fair so as I practice what I preach, I chose to ask my son this morning as I was acknowledging how he was right about feeling my resistance, “How are we going to open this day with joy and curiosity?” I then reframed our day by stating, “I am very curious how we will get this all done and I look forward to the joy my son will feel when his costume is finished.”

I am happy to report that after great effort we have a 5 foot Salamence costume all ready to be painted and fully assembled in time for Halloween and my son is already filled with joy with the progress. He even volunteered using his own money for the expenses, made the shopping list, went to the store and did most of the work. Salamence and cheetah (2)Here is video of his costume:

Clink link to see video of a past creation that fortunately his father helped him with: Spinosaurus Son

Here is a link to Parenting Resources on topics of Halloween: http://www.kidsinthehouse.com/search/site/halloween

Happy Halloween!!!

P.S. My son also learned valuable lessons which he was able to express through processing and tears. He worked so hard on the costume, yet he encountered many frustrations and disappointments (many which his father and I had foreseen yet didn’t tell him). He says next year he will choose an easier costume and help his sister with something special as he was so appreciative of her support and realized all the drawbacks to huge costumes.

Healing Song

I have inherited some devastating negative core beliefs that get triggered easily like when anything goes wrong, I instantly feel that It’s all my fault. When I break something or make a mess, I feel I am a complete failure and utterly stupid. Sadly, I have unconsciously passed this same negative tape onto my son. It has grown more apparent the more I expand my awareness for it. Even though I know they are not true, they still feel very real to my body, mind, and soul and as much I tell myself and my son they are not true, we need to heal and rewrite in the moments we feel them the most.

As we were getting ready to leave the house one day, he boisterously bounced into the wall and a picture frame crashed to the floor. As I am aware that things breaking are one of my triggers, my body viscerally reacted negatively. Almost simultaneously, my son hung his head down saying  ”I’m so stupid.” As soon as possible, I told myself out loud to “let it go” and move onto to next step. Unexpectedly, he went back to the frame to try to fix it and I reacted negatively again as I was afraid he’d get hurt from glass and we were under a time crunch.

His head hung in shame again, he stammered toward the door, muttering “It’s all my fault.”

The next feelings and thoughts poured through me in a matter of milliseconds….At first I was filled with anger and disappointment of how could he feel so bad about himself; how I don’t have the time to deal with this now; how many times do we have to go through this…then feelings of guilt and shame came of  how could I have let this self-hatred seep into my son’s self-consciousness and how come I cannot heal us both and get over it…

I caught the negative tape going wild in my mind and chose to give myself and my son the same love and compassion I wish to give everyone.

As my son turned the door handle to escape outside, I told myself I must not let him start his day this way. I ran to him as boisterously as he bounced into the wall just moments before, pulled his head up and bellowed “Raise your head.” As this was happening so quickly, I could still feel the tension in my hands.  His look instantly told me to get my body, tone, and words to match the message of love I wanted to give. I hugged him and began singing,

I love you no matter what glass breaks.

I kissed him in tune to my melody on his cheek and I looked at his eyes as they began to well up. I continued to sing:

I love you no matter what breaks.

again I repeatedly kissed him on his cheek and as I saw tears beginning to fall, I sang:

You could knock the house down and all I would care is that you were safe and sound.

followed with more kisses, he tearfully said,

“That is the kindest thing I have ever heard.”

I responded that every word of it was true and we hugged. His younger sister who was watching the whole thing then joyfully pleaded, “I want kisses on the cheek too.” We went on to have a great day and I believe some of those negative messages have healed.