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April 15, 2013

Peacemaker Coach Tip of the Week

Happiness is a Comparison

Being unhappy teaches you about being happy

What it is

Subjective things can only be understood relative to their opposites.

  

Appreciation is found in the opposites

Understanding the value of happiness requires an experience of its opposite.

Why it's
Important

Since happiness is hard, meaning it takes effort to create a happy life, the experience of unhappiness helps a kid find the desire to do what it takes to be happy.

Until they experience something first-hand, all they’ll have to go on is speculation and hearsay—neither of which are very powerful.

The
Problem

 

 

  

  

Just make it stop 

It’s hard to NOT fix the boo-boo.

A young child’s troubles are easy to fix – a Band-Aid, an ice cream cone, or a helpful tip to solve a problem.

It feels unnatural to withhold help and that’s how guilt derails great intentions.

Truth be told, you suffer more than your kids. An unhappy kid causes problems and ruins family meals and vacations. Oh, and there’s that guilt thing again.

Perhaps one reason we jump in to help is to stop our own suffering.

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The Tip
5 Ways to Practice Being Comfortable with Discomfort

With practice you can strengthen the muscle that allows you to be comfortable in the presence of your child’s discomfort.

Step 1

What makes you uncomfortable?

List common situations that make you feel uncomfortable

Things like:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Silence
  • Conversations about sex, religion, or money

Step 2

Practice

Choose the easiest way to experiment.

Just pick one of the five options below and play with it for a week.

1. Increase your capacity
Reduce distractions so you can feel things more (cut back on TV, alcohol, caffeine, etc.)

2. Breathe
Stress changes breathing patterns; it quickens or gets shallow. Breathe deeply as you allow discomfort to be fully felt. You’ll feel better faster than you think.

3. Get Curious

Ask yourself, “Why does this situation make me uncomfortable?” Are you feeling responsible, unsure, afraid, or is it something else? Let your gut tell you what’s really going on.

4. Go with the feeling, not the action
Avoid changing a conversation or distracting yourself to ease discomfort. Feeling uncomfortable is normal sometimes and it’s temporary.

5. Observe yourself

Notice how thoughts and emotions trigger an avoidance reaction. Just notice the patterns without judgment.

Step 3

Observe Results

You’re on your way when:

  • You jump in less to fix things
  • Other people are more relaxed around you
  • Conversations are deeper and more insightful

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Benefits

Enjoyment

Weird as it sounds, you’ll come to enjoy your child’s discomfort.

You’ll accept their discomfort as a natural part of growth helping you stay relaxed and empathetic.

Capacity

Stress limits your ability to reason and respond.

Short-circuit stress by allowing uncomfortable moments to just be  . . well, comfortable.

With practice you’ll be able to offer the love and empathy of a person who cares without being driven by a reactive need to "be helpful."

Influence

Growth is inevitable and uncomfortable sometimes.

You’ll need to be able to stay present and open in order to ask tough questions—or to answer them.

Promise
Kept

We promise to teach our kids how to make good decisions and some of the biggest are uncomfortable.

By demonstrating care through challenging times you’re showing your kids how to think clearly and choose well regardless the circumstances.

  

Peacemaker Coach Tip of the Week - Happiness is a Comparison 

Related Articles: Parenting Promises

Related Tip of the Week: Not Nice,

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