Banging my “Nope! Drum”

I heard a popular quote recently from a client that made me immediately jump up on my personal development soapbox and bang the “Nope! Drum”. 

I’m paraphrasing, but the quote goes something along the lines of, “A parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child.”

Bang! Nope!

Bang! Nope!

And, thrice fucking BANG! NOPE!

I can totally understand why people buy into this belief. 

At first glance, it’s a very nurturing, loving, caring statement, but when you dig deeper, it’s very negative and potentially damaging.

It’s tough seeing your child, or anyone else you love, struggle. 

But they aren't responsible for making you unhappy. 

You are responsible for your emotions, and it’s your job to stay constantly vigilant for how your thoughts about situations affect your moods.

When others around you are unhappy, it’s natural to feel for them and to want to help in some way, especially if you are a highly empathetic person. 

But you can’t help anyone by getting down into the pit of despair with them. 

When I see people I love unhappy, I take it as my responsibility to work on my own mental strength so I can be a rock for them. 

Imagine if you went to climb Everest and felt a bit wobbly on a particularly difficult part of the journey. 

How would you feel if your Sherpa fell to pieces and blamed you for making them anxious?

You’d think WTAF!

Holding another person responsible for your feelings (and you might not say it out loud to your child, but that’s basically what you're believing) is hugely disempowering and makes you feel like a victim. 

Ultimately, it can damage your relationship with them, because if they sense they are responsible for how you feel, it can make them feel guilty, and they might start withholding from talking to you about their problems to protect you.  

Similarly, (and I learnt this the hard way a few years ago when one of my children held back from talking to me about their problems because they thought I’d just tell them to go away and work on their own happiness and not drag me down with their negativity) it’s very important to listen to the ones you love, acknowledge their feelings, and let them know it’s OK to feel unhappy when they’re dealing with something difficult. 

But, when you’ve listened and helped them process what’s on their mind, then you must recharge your energy levels and practise good self care.

Teach them how to look after themselves emotionally by showing them how you do it yourself. 

Be a good Sherpa!

The author 

Vicki LaBouchardiere