The other night…
I was giving my kid a bath and he taught me a lesson. A lesson I have learned before, and one I teach, but one I need to be reminded of too.
He’s obsessed with basketball lately.
Naturally, the fishing toy net we have for him to catch the different toy animals in the water is now a basketball hoop.
My job, then, is not to bathe my child, but to hold the net up for him so he can make his slam dunks.
So when I was trying to wash him, I was clearly in the wrong, because I was not doing my job of holding up his net.
As any of you who are familiar with children would predict:
It was the end of the world.
Seriously. The hysteria was impressive. Suddenly I became the worst parent of all time.
My toddler did not teach me about emotional regulation, something he’s not really supposed to have down quite yet because he is pure right brain (as are all kids until they are 2 or so when the left, more logical brain comes more online), but I was reminded of something else.
This kid is not afraid to experience his emotions.
He has no choice but to – he is one pure ball of emotion, as are all children of his age.
I washed him (albeit quickly) while letting him have his little meltdown, and as soon as I held the hoop up:
All smiles. He hit the lottery.
Lightning fast, his emotions went from end of the world to megabucks.
I was reminded by this boy:
When we allow our emotions, they are as fluid as the water I was pouring over his head.
And here’s the golden nugget, why this is even important to you in the first place:
Relationship success starts with being truly present to your own experience.
Then, reflecting that to your partner.
The problem is that so many of us have become very talented at squelching our primal emotional experience.
And guess what?
Your partner needs the real deal – the YOU who you really are at bottom. In other words, your truly felt emotional experience.
Many people have never been given the opportunity or the space to truly have their emotional experiences.
And they do not realize what they are missing out on as a result, or have no idea how to do this on their own. They might find themselves in less than ideal relationships.
This is particularly true for people who have survived trauma or neglect. Their emotional experience may register as dangerous, so it feels better to shut down or short circuit out of.
Or emotions can feel too big, too scary, or too engulfing to actually experience because they are so unpleasant.
Many successful business owners choose to throw themselves into their work as one route of escape.
Other routes include food, alcohol, you know the drill…
It’s never too late only too late to truly get in touch with your emotional experience and yourself as a result. Humans have been changing up the circuitry in our brains into our adult years for ages, but we only recently learned that this was possible.
And here’s the good news:
The news that my son reminded me of. When you do get in touch with your emotions, they naturally move and change. Sometimes really swiftly (unless you are 20 months old, in which case they always do). Just make sure you experience them.
So if you are sad: Cry.
If you are angry: Honor that.
If you’re joyful: Enjoy – don’t hide it.
If you’re scared: Admit it. Go there.
But this can be tricky…
Particularly if your history includes one of trauma.
If this feels difficult, all it means is that you need to take it slowly, and enlist some support.
Throw another character (your other half) into the mix and often a negative dynamic has been created that may be challenging to break out of.
But it’s more than possible – countless couples do it all the time.
I know you can too.
I’m all about positive thinking and being solution focused, but at the end of the day, the importance of honoring your experience and staying present with yourself and bringing that experience to your beloved cannot be overstated.
And I have 2 questions for you:
1.) What is the most surprising thing you have learned from your child?
2.) What changes have you experienced as a result of really tuning in and honoring your experience?
Please leave your answers in the comment section below because I’d love to hear 🙂
Cheers to thriving in business and love,
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