One of our basic human needs is to feel safe and secure. This need for certainty drives our behaviors. We do whatever it takes to meet this need on a daily basis. Sometimes the vehicles we use to meet this need are not always positive.
As a parent and a spouse, I know sometimes life can get a bit chaotic. This inconsistency, although may be welcomed by some, generally causes stress. You will find a way to reduce this stress. We are very creative creatures and even if we do it unconsciously, we will meet this need.
What do you do when you need to feel comfortable? In control? Certain?
Many moms that I hear from talk about how they feel bad when they yell at their kids or get frustrated. You may do this yourself, or find that you react in your marriage in ways that you know are not right, but do it anyways out of that lack of certainty.
So why do you react like this?
Often it is out of a need for certainty. You probably have an agenda in your mind (the need for things to happen in a certain way or how they will happen), but the other person/child does not have that same agenda.
Your child is in their physical body and doing what feels good to them, not usually thinking. So, they are not in the mindset like you, needing to get to the store before it gets too late and everyone cooperating. (Read more here about what is happening for your child and how to connect for cooperation).
You want things done a certain way, you have a schedule or routine, and you want others (a.k.a., children and spouse) to cooperate. You are focused, consciously or not, about meeting your own need for certainty. When parenting from this place, it becomes difficult to focus on what your child (or even your spouse) needs and come from a place of love.
This is one certain way to create friction with your child or spouse.
Is this the kind of certainty you want to create for yourself?
I don’t think so.
When you come from a place of love, you are acting from a higher place. This is authentic to who you are and want to be. It is love. When you give it, you get it even when the other person is not giving it back, because when giving love you feel love.
It really is that simple. But here are some helpful steps to shift you from frustration to love:
Slow down. Minimize how much you have to do in a given day. Simplify your life and your family's so there is less stress around doing things, getting things done, money, etc.…
Be kind to self and acknowledge that you are needing to feel certain at the moment (sometimes this step alone can provide a sense of relief).
Consider what you might be needing in your life to help meet your need for certainty in a positive way. Don’t get stuck here or overindulge in thoughts on this because you need to shift your behavior in the moment with family. You can always take time for yourself to process this more later, and put a plan in place for yourself to meet this and other needs.
Shift your focus to your child or spouse. What does s/he need right now? Not what you think they need, but what would really help from their perspective?
Put your attention on loving your child or spouse. Meeting their need unconditionally without the expectation of anything in return. Watch them respond and experience your love.
We all have the need for certainty from the time we are born. When this need is not met, it can create stress and frustration. Our attempts to meet this sometimes becomes more of the problem rather than the solution.
Your solution is to shift your focus from frustration to love. You will see how those you care about and love, will naturally respond. You will feel good about your own interactions with them. Less guilt around your own reactions, less frustration and more love…sounds good to me. How about you?