I’ve recently started noticing a pattern in my two boys’ interactions with each other. Other parents know this pattern all too well, I’m sure. It’s the back-and-forth tattletale syndrome. As bothersome as it is, addressing it with my two littles helped me instill an introspective lesson I think is as important for adults as it is for children. My conversations with them revolved around their feelings: what they can control about them, and what they can’t.
“Made” to Feel
I felt the need to address this issue with my kids because I consistently heard a phrase restated over and over again.
“He made me feel…”
For those that don’t know, I’m a parent who never misses an empowerment opportunity, these present incidents with my boys included. I explained to them that no one can “make” them feel anything. Situations and circumstances may impact us emotionally. People, however, don’t have any power over us that we don’t allow.
From a mom’s perspective – at least, with my kids – dealing with kids’ feelings encompasses lessons about communicating with each other. The offended must explain what happened in an altercation, and he must also explain to the offender what emotional impact that action had. For example, Kingsley explains to Kensi that he gets mad and sad when Kensi hits him. Keni, in turn, doesn’t want his brother made at him, so he apologizes and commits to not do that again. (This is a heavily abbreviated version of the interaction, but you get the point.)
Dealing with Adult Feelings
With little boys, these teachable moments present more than a little drama, crying and blaming. They’re kids, after all. It’s a part of parenting. The core of this conversation, though, also pertains to adults. I’ve often heard friends explain that some people “made” them feel a certain way. Again, self-empowerment proves nothing could be further from the truth.
If I could speak to every person that believed that, I would explain the power of self they possess within themselves. We ALL have it. Yes, actions and words evoke things within us. We’re human. And while we may not be able to control things that happen to us, we have all control of our responses to those things, plain and simple. The key is to get to the root of why we respond in certain ways and decide whether or not to give ourselves over to those specific situations again.
I’ve learned you can empower yourself if you can own your emotions. If you show up for someone or something that evokes negatives feelings within yourself, don’t blame the situation or the person. Change the narrative, and you ultimately change your response to whatever that is. No one else wields that power but you, so protect your positive energy! If the time you spend with someone always ends negatively, choose to spend time with someone else. No, that person doesn’t “bring you down.” You bring yourself down by being with that person. Own your responsibility to yourself and how you want to feel, and you return power to the person that matters most in any occurrence: you.
It’s Always Time for Your Feelings
None of these thoughts negate the fact that unfavorable things will inevitably happen to us all. And it’s okay to have emotions about those things. However, it’s important to know that you, and only you, are in control of yourself every day. You decide whether to walk away from circumstances or not. Communicating thoughts about your feelings will always be your prerogative. And, if need be, you always have to power to take a moment on the sidelines of a situation to be sad. But never forget that you always, ALWAYS have the power to not let things ruin who you want to be.
We are all blessed to get 86,400 seconds to live the best lives possible each day. Own each one by not allowing anyone or anything to steal them. It will feel great, I promise!