How We Create Feelings That Serve Us

 In America

My clients experience a lot of negative emotions about their exes and the work of co-parenting with them. It’s a process for them to understand the connection between their feelings about their ex and their thoughts about him.  When they point to all his “bad” behavior it’s understandable that they feel angry, worried, resentful etc. But it’s my job to point out how they think about him creates the feelings they have. The thoughts “He’s such a jerk” vs. “He is who he is” produce very different feelings.

Because I want my clients to feel more peace, confidence and emotional freedom in their co-parenting relationships I teach them how to purposefully create these feelings. This process is crucial when it comes to their children also, and how they believe their ex negatively effects them.  As a parent I know the pain of witnessing your kids’ struggles, disappointments, and fears. We have a belief that our children should never suffer, but this is not true, nor possible: all humans experience emotional pain. The path is to learn how to process pain and grow in the process.

A typical scenario I hear is how the kids dread going to their father’s house for visitation. They may complain and even cry about it.  Moms instinctively think “ they shouldn’t have to feel this pain, they shouldn’t be put through this, I can’t protect them” creating immense feelings of pain and sadness. Now, there’s nothing wrong with feeling pain and sadness if these feelings serve you in a productive way. But typically these feelings cause us to stall out in our own lives, ruminate, and suffer.

It is possible to generate different feelings when faced by the same set of circumstances. And yes, it starts with our thoughts. How much more power and peace are generated by the thoughts “My kids can handle this; this is the life they are meant to have and the father they are meant to have; they will grow up and be much stronger for these experiences; I can’t prevent them from feeling sad, and that’s okay”.

These new thoughts take repetition because we are not used to thinking them. Plus, we assume that feeling sad, anxious and worried just come with the territory and we have no ability to change them. But, we really can decide how we want to feel. How much better can you help your kids navigate their emotions if you are feeling at peace? Your energy will transmit to them: “It’s okay, I believe in you. We’ll get through this together.”

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