When Do You Stop Doing the Right Thing?
Many times while I’m coaching clients, I hear the phrase, “I used to...”
“I used to have compassion toward my child.”
“I used to stay calm.”
“I used to think better thoughts about my mom/dad/daughter/son.”
My question is, “Why did you stop?”
The response is always the same and can be summed up as this: The Right Thing Fatigue.
We start out doing the right thing, having the right reaction, tone, words, thoughts, feelings that the person we want to be would have. But then, we get “tired.”
“I’m just tired of [blank] acting like [blank].”
When we get sick and tired of someone else’s actions, we start giving ourselves permission to stop doing the right thing.
Right Thing Fatigue occurs when you get the wrong idea of what doing the right thing is supposed to do.
Doing the right thing isn’t supposed to make your child do what you want them to do. That would be having the magical ability to control someone, and no one has that superpower.
And here’s a reality check: is yelling, name-calling, over-punishing, getting frustrated/mad/upset, giving you the ability to control your child?
Definitely not. While it feels easier, yelling and getting angry is actually the most exhausting choice you could be making while getting the same result you’ve always gotten.
The cure to the Right Thing Fatigue is this thought:
You can do the right thing and your child can still choose to do the wrong thing.
And that’s okay.
Because doing the right thing isn’t supposed to shape the people around you into who you want them to be, it’s supposed to shape you into the person you want to be.