What’s the best gift you can give your partner for father’s day?
Notice the Good.
Maybe he drives you crazy by leaving the seat up on the toilet. Maybe he is slow to talk, can’t name his feelings well, and his love language is definitely not the same as yours. These are the everyday things our partner does that annoy the crap out of us and we usually point out to our partners. They happen over and over,and we react again and again – by nagging, distancing ourselves, getting fired up, and even pointing out dad’s faults in front of the kiddos.
WHY DO WE DO POINT OUT THE NEGATIVE?
Basically sisters, we do it when we feel under resourced, tired, stressed, taxed to the max, running from one thing to the next…and (these are the big ones)…when we feel like everything depends on us and when we feel alone.
Taxed to the max, scattered, tired, feeling alone and responsible for everything? Sounds like a perfect storm to me! That’s when we are in total fight or flight…and we react. Blaming, pulling away, lashing, out, giving this annoyed sigh when our partner forgets the 100th item on the beach vacation checklist.
While we are wired to notice the negative (think: ancestors. survival. notice potential threat because your life depends on it.), we are also PRIMED for connection and belonging. Human beings have learned over the years as we evolved that COMPASSION and CONNECTION mean survival, too. And things like GRATITUDE and choosing to connect (to our own emotions and internal experiences as well as to others) help us to get out of fight or flight and make wise decisions.
NEXT TIME HE DOES SOMETHING THAT DRIVES YOU NUTS:
Next time your dear one does something that usually drives you crazy, here’s what to do:
Exhale to a count of six.
Name (out loud if you need to!) one thing that he or she does that is good. Beautiful. Kind. Helpful.
The first one will be hard. You’ll want to resist this “noticing the good” with all your might. Anger can get us in its grip, our world can become very myopic, and we hyper focus on the negative…as we get more and more justified. That’s why you gotta pause and exhale. It slows down the stress response. It creates a space for you to make contact with your human brain, connect instead of disconnect, open your awareness instead of closing yourself off in myopic thinking, and have some compassion and gratitude.
After the first thing you name, it gets easier. You start to remember the way he smiled at you this morning and made you laugh. You recall the gentleness and authenticity when he says, “I love you.” You notice all the millions of ways he cares for you without looking for a “thank you.” You become grateful for how he lets you just be YOU.
MAKE IT AN EVERYDAY KIND OF HABIT:
Try “noticing the good” as you go throughout your everyday life. You’ll begin to incline the mind (and heart, brain, and life!) toward noticing the good – even when life’s inevitable challenges have you sitting where you may not want to! This practice will help you stand up, dry off, and let go of the moment. It’ll support you in choosing to connect rather than choosing to be right. You’ll grow closer. He’ll disengage less — he’ll lean in. You’ll notice him smiling more often.
NAME THE GOOD IN DAD AROUND YOUR CHILDREN:
Have you ever found yourself spouting off about how your hubby forgot to pick up milk at the grocery store in front of your children? How about how he needs to fix the toilet or cut the grass and you have this annoyed, “you’re so not on it” kind of voice…and your children hear it?
Catch yourself. Your daughter needs to see her dad in positive light. She’s going to look for a mate just like him — and she’s going to treat him how you treat your husband. Your son needs to see the good in dad. He sees dad as a reflection of himself. He’ll emulate his dad.
Some hard truths here, but mamas, really we have a LOT of power. Our vibe, our mood, our sense of compassion all set the tone for the house…and everyone in it. That’s power. Let’s ease up on dad. Let’s notice good in him. It’s there. And once you start this new habit, you’ll begin to really notice it’s always been there. He is a great dad and partner.
Here are some powerful posts to support you in “noticing the good”…in your partner, in yourself, and in this world:
Lisa A. McCrohan
** Lisa is the Compassion Coach! I work with folks who want to live with more delight, compassion, and connection in their everyday lives. Don’t live in Frederick, MD, or the DC area? No problema! Over the phone, over skype, or in person, I offer mindful and compassion coaching. I am also a body-centered psychotherapist and yoga teacher offering individual sessions and group workshops and retreats. Visit the Barefoot Barn for more information on our services or contact me with questions, to schedule a time to talk, or learn more.