When I decided to give up smoking, I set myself a date and organised all the things I needed to get off to a good start, e.g. patches, quitting info, downloading an app. I was all set. As the time drew nearer, I started to find myself beginning to make excuses, ‘I can’t do this, my life is too stressful right now’, ‘as soon as my partner upsets me, I’ll give up – what’s the point?’, ‘the kids are stressing me out’. I seriously started to talk myself out of it.
When dealing with my children’s behaviour, I notice that sometimes I don’t deal with it particularly well, saying things like ‘you’re stressing me out’, ‘Don’t make me shout’, ‘you’re upsetting me’.
When I argue with my partner we end up rallying with each other over who is the least responsive. ‘You never talk to me’, ‘you never listen to me’, ‘you’re not interested in what I have to say’, ‘you never show any affection’.
All of these scenarios have one thing in common. They all are reactive ways of behaving. Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say – they believe they have no choice. I used to be this way, and still can be on occasion. Reactive people blame things on their circumstances, their conditions and there conditioning. They blame other people for their situation, they blame the weather for their lack of motivation. They do not realise that they have a choice about the way they react to things.
Every moment that we have in our lives provides us with a new choice. We can choose to make it a positive one or we can choose to make it negative. We determine what happens in our lives by the choices we make. When circumstances are beyond our control, we choose how we react to them.
Everyone should take responsibility for their life and stop blaming others. We all have the freedom to choose. Proactive people understand this.
“Between stimulus and response, you have the freedom to choose.” Stephen Covey
As a human being we have four qualities which allow this- self awareness, imagination, conscience and independent Will. Covey says this is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.
I did manage to give up smoking. I told myself I could do it regardless of what my circumstances were. I wrote a post about it, you can read it here. https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/habits/
I’m beginning to deal with my children much better too. I lose my temper much less now. I remind myself that I need to be a role model and their behaviours are a direct response to what is going on around them. They are not at fault for our situation, so I remember to take it easier on them. I learnt about child development stages and they are no longer reprimanded for what is ‘normal’ for their age. I no longer sweat the small stuff.
As for our relationship, it is steadily getting there. I admit there is a long way to go and much resentment that needs forgiveness. I try to remember he can’t help the drinking – he has an addiction. I need to read more about this to help me understand. I need to be more supportive. I need to remember that I can choose my response when things go wrong instead of flying off the handle. I’m getting there slowly… but I will get there.