When clients come to me because they have relationship problems, or they’re angry all the time, or they’re constantly beating themselves up, one major communication issue seems to come up over and over again: your parents.
We learn how to relate to other people, how to communicate, assume different roles in different situations all from our family growing up. Here’s the one thing I guarantee: if you can spend a couple weeks living with your parents and feel complete emotional harmony, then you can handle just about anyone in any situation. Hanging out with your parents is the best way to see which situations you react to. What types of questions piss you off or which comments upset you? (This is where a good coach comes in—to help you undo your reactions, to disarm your landmines.)
If you don’t work on them, you are destined to re-create your negative emotions in other areas of your life. In your job, or in your romantic relationship. You create the contexts and your mind filters perceived communication of others to make you feel the same way you’ve always felt. Why? Because it’s comfortable. Humans are creatures of habit, even if the habit is negative emotion. It’s what you’ve known. It’s how you’ve been “trained” by your upbringing and the defenses you chose. Why do adults sometimes act like children? Because they’re repeating a behavior they learned when they were four years old when the last cookie was given to their older brother. Throwing a fit seemed to work then, why not now?
The classic lament “why does this always happen to me?” is simply an emotion experienced by a context that you created. If something painful is repeating in your life, then you haven’t learned the lesson yet. In all emotional distress, there is opportunity for a new perspective. One that works better than the one causing you pain. Because the problem is never the problem—it’s your thinking about the problem that’s the problem. Change your thinking and the problem goes away. Or, as I recently heard on a trip to the Caribbean, “In Jamaica, we have no problems, only situations.”
Copyright 2013 Confide Coaching, LLC