A coaching column that answers your questions and gives you a look inside coaching.
We often want other people to change their behavior just so we can feel better. We don’t want to do the work to really figure out why we feel “off” or “suspicious”. We react to our feelings in an attempt to get rid of them instead of investigating them.
What is the actual problem is for you? Is it that you feel that he’s spending time with her that should be with you? Or that he shares information with her that you think should be reserved for you? Or could it be the societal idea that men and women can’t be friends without things getting complicated?
What exactly is making you uncomfortable? Once you have some clarity on what the problem is, you can decide if it’s an issue that requires a boundary or request. It’s possible neither will be necessary and this isn’t actually a problem at all.
You agreed that he could drop out if he had a plan, and he has a plan. Why are you choosing to believe this is the wrong one? What would you believe is the “right” one? Is it possible that by looking for the ways this is a bad idea, you’re missing the possibility that it’s a perfect plan for him? What opportunities might arise for him to reach his potential if he has parents he can turn to for encouragement and support? In what ways might you, and your relationship with your son also benefit from supporting his decision rather than trying to control it?
You worked out twice this week and you’re making it mean that you can’t commit to your new year’s resolution. How do you feel when you think that? I’m guessing not great. Maybe something along the lines of discouraged or disappointed? And when you feel discouraged, what do you do? What do you not do? Again, guessing here, you start giving up on yourself, skipping workouts and beating yourself up. Those actions prove your belief: I can’t commit.
Let’s go back to the beginning. You worked out twice this week. What else could be true?
-I’m working on building a habit (emphasis on “building”)
-I get stronger every time I exercise
-I felt great after both workouts
-Twice this week I showed myself that I can workout for an hour.
Try on some of those beliefs and see if any of them feel convincing.
Moving forward, decide what you want to think and feel about yourself and exercise. Does it feel better to believe “I can’t commit to exercise” or “I’m a person who exercises regularly.” What about, “I have to do this for a year to be strong and healthy.” or “Doing this today will move me closer to my goal.” Choose a thought that’s believable to you, practice it, and take action from that belief 5x per week.
Let’s table what you’re wanting to feel and acknowledge what you actually ARE feeling.
When you’re thinking that all of your social interaction has been taken from you with this new work-from-home environment, it makes sense that you’d be feeling lonely. Working from home isn’t making you feel lonely, believing that your work should provide you with connection is creating loneliness. Is there something else you can believe here? Perhaps you can believe that connection is available to you elsewhere?
Getting back to your desire to feel grateful, thinking that you should feel grateful for your job won’t make you feel grateful, it will make you feel guilty. I’d be willing to bet that there are parts of your life that you are truly grateful for. What are they? Can you allow yourself to feel both grateful and lonely?
How are you choosing to define normal? If you get back to someone right away or within a few hours, you have decided that’s the “normal” response, but your friend may think “normal” is within a few days. Her version isn’t a deviation of normal, it’s her normal.
It’s entirely possible that she didn’t think the text required an acknowledgement or a response, or she meant to respond and got distracted or she typed a response and never hit send (I do this all the time).
Pay attention to what you deem normal and more importantly investigate what you are making her slow or lack of response mean about her, you and your relationship. What if neither of you are wrong and need to change? What if your friend's perspective is perfectly normal?
“Toxic” is two things, hands down the best Britney Spears song, and a judgement-an opinion. When you believe that people are toxic, of course you are going to want to cut them out of your life. That’s what we do with toxic things, we get them away from us so we can’t be poisoned. But people aren’t toxic, they’re just human. What if you take the drama out and think, “I don’t like her behavior.” Or "when she acts that way, I don’t like being around her.” That thought probably feels less intense, and then your actions become less intense as well. Rather than cut her out, you can create boundaries for yourself. Something like, I don’t want to participate in gossip, so if you continue, I’m going to leave. Setting the boundary gives her the opportunity to connect differently with you. And if your friend doesn’t want to change her behavior, the consequences of your boundaries will naturally create distance from her.