When you’re learning a new skill, information is critical. Without that, it’s very difficult to make any kind of meaningful change.
But I see a parallel between learning new skills and respectful parenting: I like to say that love between parent and child is necessary but not sufficient – and that respect is the missing ingredient. With learning a new skill, knowledge is necessary – but not sufficient.
And support is the missing ingredient.
You might remember from our conversation with Dr. Chris Niebauer a while ago that our overactive left brains tend to make up stories about our experiences to integrate these experiences into the narratives we tell about ourselves.
If we’re “the kind of person who triumphs through adversity,” a setback will be taken in stride. If we’re “the kind of person who has been hurt,” each new individual hurt makes much more of a mark. The new experiences have to be made to fit with the framework that’s already in place.
Especially when you’re learning a skill related to difficult experiences you’ve had, your left brain wants to keep itself safe. It might tell you: “I don’t need to do this. Things aren’t that bad. I’ll just wait until later / tomorrow / next week.”
And when that happens, you need support. That support can be from a great friend, although sometimes you don’t want even your closest friends to know that you shout at or smack your child.
Therapy can be really helpful – but it’s also really expensive.
Sometimes the thing that’s most helpful is someone who’s learning the tools alongside you (so they aren’t trying to look back and remember what it was like to be in your situation; theirs is different, but they are struggling too…) who isn’t a regular presence in your life.
There’s no danger you’re going to run into them at the supermarket, or a kid’s birthday party.
You can actually be really honest with them and know it won’t come and bite you in the butt.
That’s what today’s guests, Marci and Elizabeth, discovered when they started working together. Separated by cultural differences, fourteen(!) time zones, and very different lives, they found common ground in their struggles and have developed a deep and lasting friendship.
If you’d like to work on taming your triggered feelings – and get help from your own Accountabuddy in the process – the Taming Your Triggers workshop is for you. Click the image below to learn more.