Last weekend was Mother’s Day which usually comes with conflict and intense emotions for some people.
I had an interaction with my mother which made me reflect on how powerful coaching work has been for me.
She asked me to do something I didn't want to do.
I said no, but she insisted and said it would hurt someone's feelings if I didn’t do it.
A year ago, that would have set me off and brought me right back to reacting like a teenager.
I would have resented her for trying to control and guilt trip me and then avoided her for months.
This was a pattern for years and it felt awful.
But this time, my response was completely neutral. I wasn’t angry or upset. I still went to see her (from a distance) for Mother’s Day and enjoyed the visit.
The way I transformed my relationship with my mother was by learning to manage my mind and do my own inner work to create the relationship that I longed for.
When she was conditional with her love and tried to control me, I made it mean that I wasn't good enough.
Ironically, I wanted her to change and be someone different and didn't think she was good enough.
Most of us think the other person needs to change in order for us to feel better about ourselves.
The only reason we want other people to act differently is so that we can feel a certain way.
But that’s not how it works.
Other people don’t cause our feelings. Our interpretation about what they say or do cause us to feel negative emotions like shame, guilt and resentment.
What they say or do is never a problem until we make it one.
The good news is, you are in complete control of your mind, so you always get to decide how you want to feel.
When you take complete responsibility for how you think and feel, you can also stop taking responsibility for the way other people think and feel too.
Because you have no control over their minds. It’s a complete waste of your mental and emotional energy to try.
I know why I said no to her and I liked my reason so I could have my own back.
If she got upset with me for saying no, I could let her be upset and not try to fix it or mean I am a bad daughter or she is a bad mother or that I wasn't loveable or that I couldn't love her the way she is.
Here's the truth: what other people say and do has nothing to do with you.
They have thoughts and feelings that cause them to act a certain way, just like you.
They are also doing the best with the awareness that they have at the time, just like you.
She has her thoughts about how other people should behave and I have my own. We think differently based on our own social conditioning and that's okay.
When you internalize this, you can accept others exactly the way they are instead of wanting them to be different and constantly feeling disappointed.
And accepting someone exactly as they are, without making it mean anything negative about you or them is how you create ease and a deeper connection in relationships.
If this resonates with you and you’d like some help managing stressful relationships, whether it’s your partner, parents, children, siblings or in-laws, I’d love to help.
Email me today to schedule a FREE coaching session: firstname.lastname@example.org