As I sit staring out the window, a golden orange sunset blazes behind indigo clouds. Just like the glow behind the dark clouds, there is light that makes even the darkest areas of our lives shine.
Entering motherhood was one of the most joyous experiences of my life. Light entered my life through my daughter. Even after she was asleep, I would lay awake in bed scrolling through photos. I would soak in her beauty. I remember thinking, “How could this get any better?” She was pure bliss.
I knew darkness would eventually come. It comes as I battle to manage my anger with my strong-willed three-year-old girl. I like to feel in control. I convince myself that I am.
I want to share a secret to life with you that I am working on right now: our thoughts create our feelings, and our feelings influence our actions. If I want to act different or feel better, I must change what I am thinking.
When I am feeling angry, it’s easy to act on it. When an activating event, like a tantrum enters my life, I am tempted to respond with the same emotional immaturity, and I sense when I’m losing control. What exactly am I thinking in that moment? I am believing I am responsible to control my daughter’s behavior. How logical is that?
We must constantly question the thought behind the feeling. We have to get good at observing our minds. Once we find the thought, we can create a new one. Since I cannot actually control my daughter’s behavior, I need to find a better thought that will help accomplish my goals.
When I feel the tap of anger, I can remind myself to take action in my mind. I can think: I am responsible for my own emotions. I am responsible to teach my daughter better coping skills. When anger comes, it is a reminder against complacency. I am supposed to engage with my thoughts and feelings. I need to notice them before I take an action that doesn’t serve my family or me. We can let God renew our minds and let light shine in our lives. ■