(This post describes the 4 principles underlying the How to Stop Getting Pissed at the People You Love conversation I hosted in June.)
I was pissed! THREE TIMES I told our older son to lock both locks on the door when he comes home in the evening. On all three occasions he DIDN'T do it - he only locked one of them!
“Dude, it’s not complicated! I’m not asking a lot! Lock BOTH locks when you get home!”
I felt immense frustration and would think through all the ways I could punish him for not following simple instructions. I would then think through ways to manipulate him to do what I wanted him to do.
And my emotions would stay fuming about it...
Principle 1: Our emotions show us what we’re committed to.
Look for your values and commitments beneath the surface of your hot emotions - that’s what really matters to you. We wouldn’t give a damn about the issue if there wasn’t something at play that we cared about.
What’s beneath my getting pissed about the door locks:
I value my family’s safety
I value doing complete work
I value listening and respecting each other
I value being responsible
The fuel for my getting pissed wasn’t the door locks - it was that I value those other things, and my son not locking the doors put those values in jeopardy.
Principle 2: Our hot emotions are defensive, secondary emotions designed to protect our vulnerable, primary emotions.
Of course I felt justified in getting pissed! However, getting pissed was just the secondary emotion I felt. Underneath that frustration, I felt hurt. Hurt that he didn’t listen to me. Hurt that he didn’t respect my desires and instructions. Hurt that he was maybe more interested in thinking about his friends than he was in listening to me.
Principle 3: Our vulnerable and hot emotions are a reaction to insecure thinking, NOT to our circumstances.
Here’s the truth of it. If I didn’t have insecure thinking in how I thought about myself as a dad, my son’s behavior wouldn’t hurt.
For me, here’s the thought: I’m not interesting or cool enough.
That thought is an insecure thought - it’s the source of my hurt and my getting pissed.
As a dad, I may never be interesting or cool to my kids as perhaps I once was, but that has nothing to do with me. My insecure thought - that’s all about me.
Principle 4: We have more say over how we show up than we’re usually aware of.
This is part of the foundation of all self-creation, and it’s how we disrupt unhelpful patterns in how we emote to the people we love.
Regardless of how my kids show up, I’m committed to being an extraordinary father. To me, this means being unconditionally loving, kind, and respectful.
When I’m pissed, I’m usually none of those things.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we should never get pissed or that there’s anything wrong with getting pissed. What I’m saying is that getting pissed doesn’t usually align with who I’d love to be with my kids.
When I’m being an extraordinary father, I’m living in alignment with all of my core values in life.
The choice here is to be my ordinary self who takes things personally, gets hurt, and then gets pissed, OR to be my extraordinary self who consciously brings love, kindness, and respect to each of my interactions with my kids (and others).
The choice is mine, and it's yours too.
Thanks so much for reading. 🙏❤️
P.S. As a transformational coach, I help people and organizations move beyond their self-imposed limitations to be their best and feel amazing. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you or your organization, schedule an exploration with me. 💌