“Happiness is a choice,” is a message touted by many schools of positive thought. As a parent, who is sometimes desperate to feel happy especially when bills are due, dishes are dirty and I feel exhausted, it feels hard to resonate with those words.
Then, I realized I was looking for parenting bliss in all the wrong places! Often, we look for happiness outside of ourselves. A common thought is, “I’ll be happy when, ___.” I have filled that proverbial blank many times.
As a parent, I have filled that blank with my parenting desires making my happiness dependent upon less back talk, clean rooms, finished homework and challenging phases coming to an end. Anytime, I have postponed my happiness waiting for that blank to be filled, it has blown up in my face separating me from my happiness and my sons.
I now know that parenting happiness is a choice that YOU make and here’s why:
- Brain States – As a long time student and teacher of Conscious Discipline, I understand that internal brain-body states dictate behavior. When I feel triggered, I tend to magnify situations and push myself into the lower centers of my brain. Those parts are unconscious and can be automatic. They house past patterns of blame and punishment that do not serve me, my sons or our happiness.
- Power of Perception – The goal of Conscious Discipline’s Power of Perception is to teach adults and children to take responsibility for their own upset. Likewise, we must take responsibility for our own happiness.
- Choices – I have a choice! I can focus on solutions or I can focus on the problem and what I focus on I will get more of!
So, how do we apply this information to everyday parenting? We retrain ourselves to parent based on love instead of fear and that is what Conscious Discipline is all about:
- My lower brain states are alerted when I feel threated or not enough. Composure is key to self-regulation and maintaining an optimal brain state. When I am composed, I can rise up to the Executive State which is the only conscious brain state affording me a better chance of rising to the occasion.
- The Skill of Composure shapes the Power of Perception and is sustained by diaphragmatic breathing and affirmations. From a composed place, I have a better chance of perceiving my sons’ misbehaviors as happening in front of me, not to me. It allows me to receive unwanted words and behaviors as distress rather than disrespect. This opens the door to me teaching my boys what I want them to do instead of punishing.
- The more I choose to self-regulate, the more light I shine; I set the bar at a higher vibration for me and my sons. I have a choice to dive down the drain of despair laced with dirty clothes that did not meet the hamper, stinging words from conflicts past and empty threats. Or, I can breathe deeply and take the higher neural network, with confidence, ultimately changing my internal and external patterns.
What is a practical application for today?
Breathe! Breathe deeply. Breathe often. Just breathe! Set a reminder on your phone if you have to. As you breathe in state, “I am safe.” As you breathe out declare, “I have a choice!” Breathe in again and affirm, “Happiness is a choice I make.” Breath out and know, “I’ve got this.”
With love, light and endless well wishes,
Ms. Franny a.k.a Franny911