You’re in a heated battle with your daughter. You’re simply trying to make her understand why getting a nose piercing at 15 is a bad idea, and she is trying to make you understand that your points are uncaring, unloving, and inconsiderate of her tireless efforts to be a good human. She deserves a nose ring!
She shouts to the rooftop, “you don’t understand what it’s like to be me!”
Now you’re a bit angry. Your feelings are hurt.
I want to tell you that no one can hurt your feelings.
You read that correctly. No one can hurt your feelings, yet we’ve been hearing they can all our lives. Did little Suzy hurt your feels? Don’t say you don’t like the casserole, or you’ll hurt Grandma’s feelings.
The truth is, our feelings don’t get hurt until we have a thought about what another person has said. Our daughter has said something hurtful, disrespectful, and strikes at your deepest insecurities – so we want to blame her.
Let’s break this down:
She says: You don’t understand what it’s like to be me!
You think: What! You don’t understand what it’s like to be me! I run you around everywhere. I buy you Vans, American Eagle Jeans, and upgraded your phone! All I try to do is understand you! What the…!?
No matter what was said, you can decide how you want to feel. In this scenario, a litany of thoughts rushed to your brain and, guess what, you feel hurt.
My mentor uses an example of this that I thoroughly enjoy. She says, if someone says to you, “your blue hair looks awful,” you wouldn’t think anything about it. You certainly wouldn’t feel hurt because you know you don’t have blue hair!
Another example, that is unfortunately a real life circumstance that I was tortured to live through, but really drove home this thought for me, is about snakes. There’s zero love between me and snakes! (I continue to work on these thoughts.) One day, I found a snake in my house. I am told he or she was a good snake. One that eats the bad critters in the wild, but it was in my house y’all!! If not for my wee little 10 pound dog barking incessantly, I would have stepped right on it!
When my eye caught this 100 foot snake (okay I’m told it was only about six feet, it’s all the same to me) coiled up in my basement, every vibration in my body sounded an alarm! Suddenly, what had been a great morning had dissipated into sweating, heart pounding, about to throw up feelings! My mood changed instantly, and my primitive fight or flight brain kicked in. Y’all, I flighted!
That’s when it hit me.
There are thousands of snakes outside of my house. They are literally within feet of me all day every day. I don’t see them, but they are here. I’m not walking around in terror with sweats and tears all day, yet they are there. It was only once I applied the following thoughts that feelings (vibrations) presented in my body: Holy shit Batman there’s a snake in my office! It’s huge, I’m gonna die. It’s going to come after me. It’s going to eat the dog! It’s been sliding around on my floor! How did it get in? More will come!? We have to move. We have to burn down the house.
I didn’t have those terrible feelings (or vibrations) in my body until I had the thoughts about the snake! I saw it, I thought terrible (untrue things) and my emotions shot through the roof. I love my house. It’s upsetting to think I was going to have to move!
You may think it a small bit of irony that I’m discussing snakes in a post about teenagers and feelings, but I assure you that’s coincidental!
No matter what the circumstances, we get to decide how we want to feel. When your daughter says, “you don’t understand what it’s like to be me,” alternate thoughts could be:
- She’s right. Right now, I’m not understanding her. Let’s keep trying or take a break for now.
- She needs a minute, she’s saying I don’t understand her, but she may need more time to find her words.
- She’s upset because I won’t let her have a nose ring, I’m sure that’s upsetting to her because she really wants it.
It’s easy to forget we are the ones hurting our own feelings. In a relationship where you notice your feelings are getting hurt, look for the thought you have that is making you feel hurt. Instead of hyperventilating, crying, and nearly losing my breakfast, I could have thought. Wow! There’s a snake in my office. Thank goodness my dog alerted me! He’s over there. I’m over here. I’m safe. I’ll call for assistance and then we’ll figure out how he got in here and make sure it never happens again.
Now look, I can’t leap all the way to good boy, look how good he is all coiled up and hanging out. Isn’t he cute? Maybe one day, I’ll get there, but for now, I choose to think, thank goodness I didn’t have to get him out myself or burn down the house.
You can decide too. How do you want to feel when you’re around your daughter when she gets upset? Decide how you want to feel and think thoughts that will get you there.
If you’re ready pull the thread of your thoughts and transform your life, click below to schedule a free strategy session with me.