This week, I have really been reading and listening to podcasts and really writing about us taking responsibility for our own thoughts, and our own feelings. Right? If we want to live and operate in love, that is an emotion, and we can chose our emotions by choosing our thoughts.

Today Brooke has a name for this ability to chose our thoughts and take responsibility of our emotions: EMOTIONAL ADULTHOOD.

“Emotional childhood is when we do not take responsibility for how we feel… When we are functioning as emotional children, we are blaming other people for how we feel, for how we act and for the results we get in our life.”

My own children feel this way. They blame their teachers for hard assignments – for their “bad day” at school. They don’t have the ability yet to see how their thoughts create their emotions. They think everything outside of them – their homework assignments, their chores around the house, even consequences for their misbehavior – cause their feelings or frustration and overwhelm. They don’t yet have this capacity.

“And it is perpetuated by how we are raised. How many times have you heard from a teacher or from a parent, ‘Now Sally, you really hurt little girls’ feelings. You need to say you’re sorry for hurting her feelings’.

The problem with this is that it is the most DISEMPOWERING thing that we can do, to keep ourselves (or our children) in a space of emotional childhood and blame.”

EMOTIONAL CHILDHOOD looks like us having temper tantrums. “It puts us in a place where we don’t feel like we have control over ourselves as adults, and we start acting like toddlers.”

Last week (I am embarrassed to confess that this example comes from and experience just last week) I didn’t get my way. And I didn’t feel appreciated. And no one was listening to me. So, just like a toddler, I sulked and pouted and lashed out. I wanted to be happy, but they weren’t doing the things that would bring me happiness.

And then, all the children left for school and Bry left for work, and, stepping back, I could see what was going on.

“When you’re in a place of disempowerment, you’re in a place where you feel like you don’t have control over your emotional life and you give that responsibility to someone else.”

I could see that I was in that place, and I wrote a quick text to Bry: Bry. I’m sorry about this morning. I was feeling/acting pretty immature. I love you. I’m grateful for you. I love you.

And Bryant, the emotional adult that he is, replied, I love you very much. I’m sorry. You are a wonderful wife. You are a kind mother. You are a good friend.

EMOTIONAL ADULTHOOD looks like us, taking full responsibility for every single thing we feel, no matter what someone else does or doesn’t do. Emotional adulthood looks like me taking responsible for my happiness and also taking responsibility for my unhappiness.

“I get to be more of the person I want to be instead of being in this default emotional childhood space.

When you are acting from a place of emotional adulthood, you don’t act in a way that’s mean to other people… because you are (not) reacting from a place of trying to get them to behave in a certain way so you can feel better.

Usually, when we throw temper tantrums, usually when we’re mean, it’s because we’re trying to control (other people). We’re trying to get them to behave in a way so we will feel better, and that’s never going to work and it’s only going to cause tension and pain in the relationship… You need to decide who you want to be in the world.”

Being an emotional adult doesn’t mean beating yourself up either. It doesn’t mean thinking you are at the core of everything wrong. Remember CS Lewis: Humility isn’t think less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

“What I want to encourage you to do is to explore this in your own life. Write down some examples of where you are acting like an emotional child. Where are you blaming in your life? Where are you not taking responsibility? Where do you feel entitled to something you haven’t earned?”

I will do this. I want to own this.

“Yes, being an adult does require more effort. It does require a lot more responsibility, but any of us who are adults know that it’s worth it. It’s worth it to take that step into managing ourselves and our minds, so we aren’t dependent on other people for how we think, feel, act or ultimately the results we get in our lives.”


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