Most of us are guilty, at some time in our life, of wanting our needs met by someone else’s actions. I have been. “Why can’t they just notice how much I do so I can feel satisfied and important?” Sound familiar?
We learn from a young age our actions can make another person feel good, sad, angry, disappointed etc etc. For example, when a child behaves well they make Mummy happy. When they use their poster paints to ‘decorate’ the house, they make Daddy angry (and probably more). Yet it is common for parents to tell an upset child – “No one can make you upset, you are choosing It.” Confusing hey!
We want our children to grow up self-sufficient, without needing anything from anyone. Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to receive acceptance, love and approval but it is different to needing it to feel good.
Let’s teach our children to fill up from the inside and enjoy their friendships independent from the actions of others. This reduces the amount of pain and hurt, and we all want this for our child. But do we show them how to do this? Do we even know how to do it ourselves? I didn’t!
It is so empowering to realise you are responsible for your emotional state.
- Another person cannot do anything to cause an emotion you choose not to have. It is possible for someone to say something really mean and for you NOT to get upset. In fact, it is possible for a person to feel happy and satisfied EVEN WHEN someone is saying something mean.
- Any emotional fulfilment you get from someone else’s behaviour can also be achieved from within. Being included in a group may lead to a child feeling more popular and it is also possible for that child to feel popular EVEN IF they are not included in that group.
If there is a positive emotional state you experience from another person’s actions, there may be ways you can get this for yourself. This means you can experience it more often and not be dependent on others. You may still enjoy experiencing it in your friendships but your happiness is not dependent on it.
So, what do you want from your friendships, or any relationship, for that matter? Once you figure this out (or help your child figure it out) you are a step closer to achieving it for yourself.
Do you want support, understanding, love, acceptance, strength, companionship or something else?
Anything you want from a friendship, you can also give to yourself. Once you know what it is you can take steps to giving it to yourself. Once you help your child realise what they want you can help them get it from themselves too.
- Do you look for support from your friends? If so, make sure you are supportive toward yourself. What does your self talk sound like? Are you always self-critical? What sort of things would you say to yourself if you were going to start being more supportive?
- Does being accepted exactly as you are by your friends fill you emotionally? What would happen if you started accepting yourself exactly as you are? And what would these steps be? Most likely, it would again be in your self-talk.
- Is companionship what you are after from your friends? Again, how could you be more of a companion toward yourself?
This week, pick something that you normally get from a friend or you would like to get from your friendships and find a way you achieve it for yourself. Let me know how you go.