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Those Are Fighting Words – Now What?

It’s the end of another great day in the world of real estate. You held a contract together despite the home inspection results, while maintaining your commission. You listed two sellable properties. You enjoyed three hours of and managing those leads. You are standing in the kitchen whipping up another tasty dinner, when your fourteen-year-old daughter walks in.

“I hate living with you!” she declares as she plops herself on the kitchen floor, arms crossed, legs crossed, eyes crossed. 

What are you thinking at this critical moment? Do you react, snapping back at her without thinking, ensuring a miserable evening for both of you? Or, do you pause, collect yourself, and respond, curious about the real issue? 

Here is what happened when Becky, one amazing divorced mom, chose to respond. 

Becky took a deep breath. She plopped onto the floor beside her daughter, mustered her courage, and asked the question. 

“Why do you hate living with me?” 

“Because the house is so big, and when I come home from school you give me so many chores to do. There is no one to help me, Mom.” 

“What else?” 

“You are so busy. You can’t always help me with my homework.” 

“Go on ...” 

“Every time we order pizza we have leftovers.” 

“Ah. Do you miss your sister?” 

“Why did she have to leave home to go to college? Why couldn’t she go to the university in town?” 

“I miss her, too. I wonder what she is doing right now? Give me a hug and then let’s call your sister.” 

Becky confessed that this was a rare moment when she had the presence of mind to have a healthy exchange with her daughter even though the dialogue began with fighting words. 

The most important concept to remember is this: You can react or you can respond. Your thoughts are your choice. You can choose thoughts that make you feel good, or thoughts that make you feel bad. When you are feeling hurt, focus on feeling better. Call a family member or a friend. Hug someone. Get an ice cream. Take a walk. Listen to great music. Focus on what is great, good, or even okay right now. You are much more likely to be receptive to getting the outcome you desire the moment you move toward a better frame of mind. 

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