Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Your Story!

One of the greatest ways to improve your attitude is to change the story that plays out in your head. Instead of reacting to your first thoughts, move yourself into the other person's shoes. Let's say your driving home after work and someone cuts you off like you weren't even there. My first reaction used to be,"jerk," and then have an attitude similar to that of a self righteous victim. Inside my head I asked over and over, "who does that guy think he is, he doesn't own the road. " Then the killer, a true statement of a victim, "what about me?"

What I never considered is maybe the fellow is rushing to the hospital for the birth of his first born baby and is distracted. Perhaps his wife just called and told him one of his children are injured. Maybe he's rushing to the bedside of a dying relative. All great reasons to forgive his momentary distraction and take the attention off of me. It's all about the story you allow yourself to be told.

Let's apply this as a parent. Say you arrive home from work and Junior is in timeout because a broken lamp was found in his bedroom. The evidence points toward junior was playing ball in the house, outside the family rules. Your liable to tell yourself the story this was a direct violation of my rules, Junior needs to be seriously disciplined, and the cost of replacing the lamp he broke outweighs the teaching moment you've just encountered. Anger sets in and you react badly, as most victims do. after all he disrespected the home and the furnishing you provide for him.

Let's reframe it. What Junior did was wrong and does need to be disciplined, but he was also good in the sense he was exercising and improving his athletic ability. Time to sit Junior down and tell him where he violated the rules and apply an appropriate punishment, but to also point out what he was doing right, a teaching moment! "Son I love the fact that you were exercising and working on your ball handling skills, but we need to take those outside so the furniture doesn't suffer and neither do you." If Junior doesn't learn in his youth guided by his father's wisdom as a man he won't have a clue. The whole lesson is ended with, "and this is how we do it better next time."

Once again check the story you tell yourself before you react. Deal with situations first in love and understanding. It'll lower your blood pressure!

God Bless
Capt. Bill

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