I was always having to make a choice between two good choices. Hopefully, this dilemma comes up often. We as humans, don’t liking making the wrong choice even if both produce positive outcomes. I believe if we can’t make a decision between two good choices, we need to gather more information, make a decision, pray about, and then go for it.
Sometimes we have to make a decision between choices that both cause us to feel discomfort.
We can gather more information, which is a smart thing to do, but usually we know what we need to do, but we procrastinate in making a decision because either choice causes us to feel discomfort.
Our brain is preprogramed to avoid discomfort. When it has to choose between two discomforts, it doesn’t know how to help you solve the problem. The result is you are feeling the discomfort of both choices, inhibiting you from moving forward.
A client of mine was facing this situation. Her daughter who was attending college was making poor choices. She was not attending a lot of her classes; she kept running out of money and was asking for more; she was staying up all night many nights and then sleeping through her classes. As a result, her grades were poor. My client felt she was not only wasting their money but also wasting her life away.
Her dilemma was that when she set a boundary of taking away her car and her phone until her daughter started going to class, made a budget, and raised her grades, mom felt discomfort. She started owning the discomfort that her daughter was feeling; if she took away her car and phone, she was preventing her daughter from having a fun social life at college. This thought racked her with pain.
But when she didn’t enforce the boundary, she was feeling discomfort from seeing that her daughter was not only being responsible adult, she was also wasting her parents' money. She was also subsidizing a lifestyle for her daughter that was keeping her daughter from moving forward in her life.
You may be thinking the decision was obvious, that a boundary needed to be set. But this mother was genuinely suffering when she thought about her daughter missing out on the social portion of college life.
She felt discomfort when she thought about setting the boundary; she felt discomfort when she thought about not enforcing the boundary.
I only had one session with her. I don’t know which discomfort she chose to feel.
As an adult, we are able to feel negative emotions, without it making our lives dysfunctional. It’s not easy, but it is possible. If we are willing to feel discomfort, with practice it becomes easier to do. The cliché “I can do hard things”, I think, is not about physically doing hard things, but more about being able to be emotionally uncomfortable.
I believe that when you are feeling discomfort, you are on to something big. You will grow in a way you never imagined. When we know discomfort is coming and willing to embrace it and even welcome it, we will be able to accept it as a part of life.
Feeling discomfort doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. Life is 50/50. 50% of the time, life is comfortable; 50% of the time, life is uncomfortable. We were told there would be opposition in all things, right? With this principle, the bad makes the good feels even better.
When feel discomfort when having to make difficult decisions regarding setting boundaries with our adult children, a good thought to remember is “this decision provides the best long term result for my child”. This will result in effectual discomfort: Discomfort that is painful but will help your child to start making more responsible decisions.
When we don’t set a boundary, but support their poor choices they’re making by financially supporting them without any accountability, the result is trapped discomfort. Discomfort that is painful, but doesn’t provide most often, the result you want of your child becoming an adult.
We will always have a choice of which option to choose; the choice between 2 discomforts.
There is no guarantee that the choice you pick will give you the desired outcome. When we are making a choice based on not wanting to upset the relationship; not wanting our children to go without something that is non-essential, here is a thought to think about: A good friend of mine told me “Don’t make the mistake of robbing your children of experiencing their own personal hell.” We grow when things are hard and uncomfortable. We all grow; it’s what keeps us moving forward in life.
Trapped discomfort keeps things they way they are. Effectual discomfort has a more positive future outcome.
Either choice, you’re going to feel discomfort. Be willing to feel discomfort; choose your discomfort; and then “own” it!!!
Making decisions regarding how you’re going to best help your adult children is tough. But feeling discomfort is the way we grow and progress in this life. Which ever “discomfort” you choose, choose it from a place of love and peace.
When you do, you will always win. Because that's what love does….it always wins.
If you’re finding it's hard to get to a place of peace and love when trying to make the right decision about your adult children, I can help you. I would love to help you. Click the button below to get started. I offer a free 60 minute mini session.