The Daily Groove

Your Emotional Guidance (Part 2)

(Cont'd from Part 1)

A mother sees her toddler snatch a toy from his baby sister, who starts crying. The mother is outraged.

The conventional view is that the child's behavior made the mother angry. But the cause of her outrage was actually her thoughts about the behavior. Those thoughts flashed by so quickly she didn't notice them. Thoughts like...

  • He's traumatizing the baby!
  • What've I done wrong to create that behavior?
  • What would my friends think if they saw that?
  • I am powerless to stop the behavior without resorting to punishments.

These thoughts are out of accord with her Higher Self who knows her limitless creativity and freedom, her absolute worthiness, and her children's inevitable well-being.

The anger is her Emotional Guidance telling her she's gone off track. She will find relief (and eventually her "groove") by deliberately reaching for soothing thoughts, like...

  • The baby always recovers quickly.
  • My desire to be a good parent is stronger than ever.
  • Whoever judges me is not my friend anyway.
  • I can connect with my Authentic Power regardless of his behavior.

When she feels relief, that's her Emotional Guidance letting her know she's moving her thoughts in the right direction.

Try it!

Comments (closed)

The Work of Byron Katie

Thank you for sharing with us your support of emotional guidance, Scott. :)

I absolutely agree that the anger in the above scenario is acting as a wake up call for the mother to examine her thoughts in response to her child's behavior. I'd like to share what works for me as a mother.

In my experience, "deliberately reaching for soothing thoughts" before I'm FEELING those thoughts feels somewhat dismissive and dishonoring.

The way I get to that place of sincerely feeling those soothing thoughts is by questioning the original, stressful ones.

I practice The Work of Byron Katie ( The Work is simply four questions and what is called a turnaround in which we examine the possibilities of the opposite of our original, stressful thought being as true or truer as the original.

Then soothing thoughts about the situation at hand are the effortless, naturally-occurring result. That has been my experience.

~Jennifer Ironstone

Re: The Work of Byron Katie

Thanks Jennifer! I think the Emotional Guidance concept is entirely compatible with The Work, which is especially useful when you can't seem to let go of a stressful thought. Once you get good at recognizing, questioning, and releasing stressful thoughts, you can go straight to inviting better-feeling perspectives.

In other words, after doing The Work for a while, you come to know that that no thought is absolutely true and that who you'd be without stressful thoughts is always closer to Who You Really Are, so you can let go of them as soon as you realize they're stressing you out. Katie often intuits this when she does The Work with her students, bypassing the four questions and going straight to the turnaround.

Personally, I am wary of the turnaround technique. It's great for helping us see the arbitrariness of "truth" and often leads directly to much-better-feeling thoughts. But it can also be a trap for some people. For example, when you're questioning a stressful thought that includes "I should..," the turnarounds "I shouldn't..." and "s/he should..." can keep you in a control-oriented ("shoulding") mindset when the most creative and stress-free perspectives completely transcend right/wrong thinking.

In other words, the most authentic thoughts are often not the opposite of the stressful ones. I recommend combining the turnaround with Emotional Guidance, so that the criterion for determining whether the turned-around thought is "truer" is how much better you feel when you think it.

Re: Your Emotional Guidance (Part 2)

Are you saying she doesn't correct her child at all?

She will find relief (and eventually her "groove") by deliberately reaching for soothing thoughts, like...

You're talking about thoughts, but what about action? My son is 2 -- he'll grow out of the cute stage where people allow their children to have things taken from them -- or children allow things to be taken from them.

Just a wee bit confused...

Re: Your Emotional Guidance (Part 2)

Lizzie - I didn't suggest a particular action to take. I recommend checking in with your Emotional Guidance before you take action. Then whatever action you take will be inspired instead of reactionary.

Regarding "the cute stage," I'm guessing you mean that 2-year-old toy snatching is innocent and forgivable because the child is too young to know better. There are two versions of "knowing better" here...

1. The conventional view: "He will eventually learn that it's wrong to take things from others."

2. The partnership view: "He will eventually learn that he can have more fun and power through connection and creative partnership than through domination and control."

The first version justifies dominator-style parenting: controlling, punishments and rewards, prohibitions, etc. The second version inspires helpful modeling, e.g., "Let's show the baby how we play with that toy together."

You might also want to read the follow-up questions and answers from my Time-In series, here.