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Happiness in Family Life

Aug 11, 2022
April Price Coaching
Happiness in Family Life
32:56
 

Episode Summary

Most of us get married and have a family so that we can have more happiness and feel more love in our lives. But the reality is that it’s just as hard to choose happiness in love in family life as it is anywhere else in our lives.

A family is really just a bunch of human brains (all of which are programmed to find the negative and notice what’s gone wrong) that are all living together, sharing the same space, and having lots and lots chances to interact and have thoughts about each other. You’ve probably noticed how hard it is to manage just one human brain…now imagine the difficulties that might arise with more than one brain involved.

And while this is challenging, this is also what makes being a family the perfect vehicle for you to learn the most important lesson of life—how to choose love no matter what.

In today’s episode of the podcast, I’m sharing five things that will help you have more happiness and more love in your family and they probably aren’t the things you think.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.

Hello podcast universe. Welcome to Episode 171 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price, I am so happy to be with you today. How are you? Has school started where you are? Here in Arizona, where I live in our district school starts in just a couple of days and for the first time in like over two decades, we are not going to have a first day of school here at the Price House. So, that's been an honor, just the it's been really like weird to think like here comes fall here comes back to school and like nobody here is going back to school. And like so much of our life was focused on school, right? On raising our kids and getting them to and from school, helping them succeed in school, make the progress through all of that. And like all the feeding, and clothing, and nurturing, and loving, and teaching, that that went along with all of that.

I was thinking about like all the lessons, and games, and practices, and like just thinking like, yeah, there's not going to be a volleyball season, there's not going to be a soccer season. Like so much has changed. And I was thinking about the other day just how many hours I spent in my life driving people to lessons, and helping them practice, and like going to recitals, and performances, and games, and like the number of meals I made, the number of stories I read, the number of essays I edited, and the number of clothes I was enfolded in. Like so much effort and work that went into our family life. And, you know, that kind of feels like the work of families, like all this nurturing and cleaning and driving in and like all the things we do, all the activities we do. And I've been thinking a lot about that recently, just because my workload, of course, has changed as my youngest son left on his mission, like my my work inside my home has changed dramatically since it was when they were all home here with me.

And so, I've just been thinking a lot about what is the work that we do in families really? Like, it's really easy for our brains to say it's all the things we do, right? And to think that like that's what the work of families is. And I've been just thinking a lot about what if, what if it's not, what if the real work that we are doing in families isn't about any of those things we do, but the real work that we do in families is the individual work we are each doing in the chambers of our own minds and our own hearts. And I was thinking like, really the work that I am doing as a mother, as a member of this family, is really learning to choose. And choosing my experience as I share my life with these other people. And in so many ways, my family has provided the mechanism and a place for me to practice that choosing. And I want to talk to you about this today, about the work that you are really doing in your families and how that work is really about who you are becoming, how you are learning to choose, and that your family is the perfect vehicle for you to be able to practice that choosing in the perfect vehicle for them to practice that choosing.

Well, I find is that a lot of us have thoughts about families. We have expectations, we have assumptions, we have ideas about how families are supposed to work and the role that they are supposed to play in our lives. What families are supposed to look like, what parents are supposed to look like, what children are supposed to like, behave like, and how it's supposed to feel inside of a family. And a lot of those assumptions and expectations can cause us pain because most of the time the reality of family life is that it looks very different then the thoughts and assumptions and rules that we have.

So, today I want to give you a few different thoughts to think about family life that I hope will help you no matter what your family looks like, no matter what stage of family life you are in, and no matter what your family experience has been. So, I want you to start by thinking for a minute, what is it that I believe about family life? Do I think that it's supposed to be happy? Do I think it's supposed to be a safe place, a refuge where you are loved and supported unconditionally? Do I think that it's a place that's supposed to be peaceful and almost heavenly? And when I think that and then I'm faced with the reality of family life on Earth, right? Life with like other people who are just learning to choose, including myself, then, like, I might create some unnecessary suffering for myself by having expectations that are different than what my family life is really like.

So, to start out, I just want to point out the obvious, okay? I want to point out that family life is happening here on Earth right now. I know that's obvious, but really, think about that. That means that family life is not a celestial experience, its a telestial experience. What is happening here in a fallen world with other humans that are functioning under the veil of a human brain. Here we are in a family, we all have brains, all of our brains work the same way. Our brains offer us negative thoughts, they point out what's dangerous, they show us what's threatening, what's wrong with us, what's wrong with other people, what's annoying, right? And we have our brain that is always offering us opposition to all of the things that are good in our life, the opposition to love and peace and happiness.

And like we're all in this family together and we all have brains that function this way. And I want you to think about this. I want you to think about the challenges that just one brain can create. And then we're going to put a bunch of these brains together in close quarters for a lot of years. And they're going to interact with each other, and they're going to share the bathroom, and they're going to chew at the same table as each other, and they're going to have to work together to get the work done that is necessary for survival. And listen, this is going to create a few conflicts, okay? Like we're going to put all these brains together and all of these brains are here to practice choosing, which means none of them are good at it, yet none of them, like, have a lot of skill and be able to choose love no matter what. Choose unconditional love, right?

And here we are together, and I really just want you to, like, kind of this, like, sit with that for a minute and understand, like, of course, of course we're going to run into some conflicts. Of course, our brains are going to offer us like all kinds of like negative thoughts as we go through this experience together. And what we're here to do is to learn to choose. And like, when you really look at the reality of what we're up against, right? It helps you to like really think about some of your expectations.

For example, one of the expectations we have is that like this should be easy, that it should be easy to love each other, they should be easy to get along in a family, that it should be easy to be happy together in a family. If we were doing it right, we would be happy in our family and we wouldn't have so many problems. We wouldn't have so many conflict. And I really want you to question that for a minute. Wait a minute, right? There are many of us here and we all have brains that function in this way, and we're here to practice choosing. And none of us are good at it. Do I really want to believe that this should be easy? Do I really want to believe that if it's not easy or we're not happy all the time, then something has gone wrong? We must have done something wrong. I think that's a really painful way to look at things. So, I just want to offer that when we think it should be easy, that it should that love should be automatic, should be natural, should be easy to get along with each other. I want to offer you that we're probably wrong about that. I don't think it's supposed to be easy. I don't think we're supposed to be happy all the time. I think what we're supposed to be is to be given lots and lots and lots of opportunities to practice choosing, and that's what a family provides.

Okay, so why does that matter? Right? Like, why does it matter if I think that it should be easy or if I accept that? Of course it should be hard. And the example that I want to give you is in the climbing training that I'm doing for my endurance event. So, sometimes when I get on the treadmill, like, my brain will tell me, like, this should be easy already. You aren't making enough progress. Like, like if you, if this is hard for you, you're never going to be able to do this event. Right? And like, I sort of like when I think it's supposed to be easy and it's not easy for me, I get really discouraged when I know that it's not going to be about being easy, that it's in fact supposed to be hard and I can open up to that. And I just tell myself like, Yeah, it's hard today. It's supposed to be hard. This is how I adapt, this is how I grow, this is how I change. It has to be hard in order for me to grow. Then I just get to like drop all my resistance for for the pain that and the discomfort that I'm in. Like, I just want you to know that when we know that the goal isn't easy, but the goal is to get better at choosing. It just changes our perspective completely. Like when I'm on the treadmill and it's hard and I think it's supposed to be easy, then I think, Oh my gosh, there's something wrong with me.

But when I'm on the treadmill and I know that it's supposed to be hard and I'm like acknowledging of course it's hard, then I'm like, okay, now I just have to get better at choosing, choosing to stay, choosing not to quit, choosing not to stop, choosing not to let up, choosing not to give up, right? And it's so much easier when I know it's supposed to be hard. Like, I want it to be hard. That's where I'm going to grow and change. And so, I just want to offer you the same kind of idea can be really useful in family life because if it's hard and if it isn't always happy and you are making yourself wrong for that and you're looking around, you're like, well, I must have done it wrong. We aren't doing this right. Like that is so discouraging. But when you know, like, no, listen, we all came here with brains and love is the hardest like choice we can make. And of course we need practice. Then it just becomes about, okay, how do I make the next right choice? How do I choose to love even here, instead of just getting so discouraged about like the impossibility of all of it, okay?

So, I want to offer you five things that have really changed the way that I show up in my family. And I want you to consider them and offer them to you as a way to change the way that like you approach your experience of being in a family.

So, the first thing that I want to tell you is that family life, because it is happening here in a terrestrial world on earth, it is a 50/50 experience, right? It is not exempt from negative emotion. We don't get married and have a family and be like, oh, this is the part of the fall where there's no negative emotion. No, we are married and we are having a family here on Earth, which means it to our marriages. Our family life is going to be 50/50, 50% positive, 50% negative. And that is not a problem. It doesn't mean that you are doing it wrong. It means that you are here on earth working with a brain that has offered you thoughts. Those thoughts half the time are going to create negative emotion for you, right? Someone else in your life, your husband, your wife, your children, they aren't creating that negative emotion your own brain is. And the thoughts that you are currently thinking is creating negative emotion for you at least half of the time.

And that's not a problem. But that is the nature of the Earth life experience. It is 50/50. But also what I want you to know is that no person in your family is creating that negative emotion for you. It is all being created in your own mind. And so, if you ever want that to be different, if you ever want to feel less negative emotion, if you ever want to feel more love, more happiness, more peace, it's up to you to make a different choice, a different one than what your brain is offering you. So, when we think about the goal of family, life is happiness, which I know that's like really easy to believe that like we're supposed to be in this family.

We got married to be happy, we had kids to be happy, right? Wait a minute, I might not have thought this through, right? But when we think the goal of family life is happiness, and then we need other people to behave in a certain way, and make specific choices and treat us in a certain way in order to feel that happiness. We are really going to be in trouble, right? Because other people are not good at making us happy. We are the only ones who can make ourselves happy that is created in our thoughts. And no one else can do this for us. Like, you can be as happy as you want, but it will be up to you and you alone. Sometimes we get into family life and we think like these other people should be contributing to my happiness. And I just want you to know they should not. Your happiness will never be based on the choices of other people. It will be created by you, by the way you choose to think. Your thoughts are the only thing that can create your happiness ever. And I want to suggest to you that you probably don't want to be happy all the time. You don't want to think happy thoughts about everything that is happening in your family. A lot of times you want to be sad, or frustrated, or, you know, discouraged about the things that are happening.

And so, I really like to kind of shift in my mind and remind myself, listen, like happiness is not the goal here. The goal here is to get better at choosing. I'm not trying to be happy all the time. I'm trying to grow in my ability to choose. And I think, like the best choice I can make is love. And that's what I am here to practice. I am not after happiness no matter what, right? What I'm trying to do is be able to get better and better at choosing love no matter what. And listen, I am not great at that. And that's why I am in a family, so that I can get lots and lots of practice, okay? That brings us to the second thing that I want to offer you. I want to offer you that all of the other humans that you live with are going to have varying abilities to love, they're all going to come with different skills at love, okay? And none of them are going to be perfect at it. You aren't either. And all of that is okay. You were born to people with varying skills of love, and you gave birth to people with varying skills of love, and that is not a problem.

Sometimes we think like, oh, just because we're in a family, we should be good at love. We should be good at loving each other, and that's just nonsense. Like love is a feeling that we create through our choices and we all have different abilities at making those choices. And the other humans that you live with in your family, they may be good at it. They may not. But the reason they are here is to get better. Whatever skill level they are at, they are here to get better at it and so are you. So, a lot of times in coaching, what we'll hear from people is that like, you know, the people in my life, the people in my family are supposed to love me, they're supposed to support me. They're supposed to think I'm important and they're supposed to think I'm valuable. They're supposed to they're supposed to love me. And listen, that sounds so lovely, right? But I want to ask you, why? Why are they supposed to be able to love you? Why are they supposed to be good at loving you? Hey, it's not because you're not lovable. It's because we all have different skills.

And for whatever reason, they have not yet developed the skill to love all at the level that you maybe would prefer, right? You have to remember, like I said, that love is a feeling that we are creating with our thoughts. And all of us, we have a brain that is offering us all kinds of negative thoughts. Thoughts that tell us what's wrong with other people, how they should be doing it differently, how they're wrong. And we're right and so, love is not always easy to create. And of course, that feeling isn't going to automatically happen to two people with a human brain. It takes a high level of skill in choosing love, of like consciously choosing to like, not think the negative thoughts to give up those negative thoughts and choose loving ones instead. And just notice like that is an incredible skill. And why do we think that just because we belong to a family, we should be like endowed with that skill, that our parents should be endowed with it, that like our children should be endowed with that, that our spouse should be in that like automatically we got married. And so, now therefore you should be good at choosing thoughts that create love.

I know it's just not an automatic like download into any of us, we have the skills we have, we should not be any better at it than we are. When we live in a family, we are here to practice that skill and all the people that belong in your family came into that place with you to practice the skill. And when we think they should have come with the skill that they should have been automatically given it. Just because we belong in a family, we are going to be really disappointed. It's so important that you understand that we are in this family not because we're good at love, but because we're not, and because we need each other to practice this skill. Family life is the mechanism provided by heaven for you to develop the skill of love. Not because it's easy, but because it isn't. And listen, every family is different in their skill level. Every individual in that family is different in their skill level. And when we look around at other families and we're like, wait a minute, like, I think they're better at it than us, right? Like, that does not serve you.

Like, you don't have their curriculum, you have yours. And it was all by divine design, right? As the song said, God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be now. God gave us families because we were already what He wants us to be and we were going to do it perfectly. You know, that's not how the song goes, right? And so, if we stop arguing that our family should be different, that we should be better at it, that it should be more automatic, like we can give up that argument and just go to work on ourselves and creating the love that we want to create in our lives. It is always our skill in love that is in question, right? That's the only part we get a control. We can stand there and think like everybody else in our family should be better at this, but it doesn't matter. We don't have any say in how they learn love, like where they learn it, how quickly they learn it. None of that is our business. The only thing we get to control is how fast we learn this skill, right? Our brain is very worried about the way other people are doing it, their skill level, what they lack in their ability to love it. It doesn't matter. We don't have any say in how they learn or when they learn.

We only get a say in our own ability to learn to love. Okay, the third thing that I want to tell you is going to kind of sound obvious, and that is that everybody has their agency. The part that's not obvious is that that is not a problem. Everybody has their agency and that is not a problem. So, the people in your family are going to make choices and we are not always going to agree with the choices that our other family members make. We often wish that they would behave differently, that they would treat us differently, that they would act differently, that they would live their lives differently. But the truth is, everybody has agency, which means they get to choose. Every time they get to choose what they want, they get to choose how they show up. They get to choose how they behave, they get to choose how they treat us. The good news here is that you have your agency, too, and you get to choose the experience you want to have no matter what anyone else chooses. I think one of the keys to happiness in family life is to do a makeover on your responsibilities.

I mean I want you to take more responsibility for your results and take less responsibility for theirs. So, it's really easy, especially as parents, to think that, like somehow the choices that our children are making are our responsibility, that we did something wrong, that like that. If we had done a better job, they would be making a different choice. And I just want you to know that, like, there is so much pain involved in, like, taking responsibility for somebody else's choices, you just can't win. And the way to happiness is to take more responsibility for your own results, for your own choices, for your own feelings, for the way that you are showing up with them and so much less responsibility for theirs. And I know that that is hard, right? I know that it doesn't feel like you have any other choice then than to feel the way that you do. But your feelings are always created by your choices and not someone else's. And that's what I mean. Like, we can take responsibility for those choices, whatever I'm feeling. It's not created by them. It's not their responsibility. It is mine.

So, I really want you to think about how do I take less responsibility for what they're choosing and more responsibility for I'm choosing. So, the other day I was working with a client and we were talking about her relationship with her mom and some of the things that her mom had done and like the choices that she had made. And a lot of them were really hard and were really painful. And and, you know, my client asked me, like, do you really think it's possible to love her? And you know, as we talked, I explained that, like, whenever we think that that we can't feel love or that we can't feel the way that we want to, it's because our brain thinks that they and their actions are creating our experience, that the choices that they are making are creating our feelings.

And so, then it really does feel impossible to love. It feels impossible to choose something else. And so, what we have to recognize is, like, when it feels hard to love, it's because our brain thinks they are creating our feelings. And we don't really see that like we have chosen a thought. And that thought alone is preventing us from feeling the way that we want to. I want you to know that love is always an option. It is always your choice. It doesn't mean that you're you you're going to choose it. But no one else can take away that option.

No one else can take away your ability or your possibility to love them. It is always an option if you think that their actions and their agency in the way they've used it create your feelings. And no, right. Then it makes it really hard to like feel the way that we want to do. But when we know I choose my experience. I choose my experience. They get to choose what they're going to do. But then if you think you can't love someone, it just means that your brain is confused about who or what creates your feelings. Like your choice in the way that you think creates your feelings, that's it. And if you want to love, it is always an option. So, I just want you to remember, like, think about the goal, right? Like, for many of us, our goal is to, like, develop characteristics like Christ to be more like he is, right? And just notice, like, he's not waiting for anyone to behave or for anyone to use their agency in the exact right way that he dictates before he feels love for us.

He chooses to feel love for us, no matter what we choose. So like, remember again, I go back to that song, God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be like. If we want to get better at love like he gave us the families in which to do that work. He didn't give us perfect families to become what he wants us to be and give us nice families to help us become what he wants us to be like. Who he is is someone who can love under any circumstances. And so he gave us families under any circumstances that we could learn to choose like he does. And here is the best news of all, this is work that you can do by yourself using your agency, and nobody else has to do anything else. Nobody helps us to behave. Nobody else has to choose differently. Nobody else has to treat you differently. You just get to choose for yourself. And it is work that you do. Just for you. It isn't for anyone else. Like we all think it would be really nice if they loved us. But even if they were good at that, even if they were good at loving us, that would be an experience that they would be having in their body and nothing would be happening in ours.

If I love you I am the one experiencing that feeling inside of my body, which is awesome for me. But you wouldn't be feeling that at all, okay? And so, we want people to love us. We think it would feel so good, but if they choose to love us, it's only going to feel good inside of them. And that's what I mean. Like we are doing the work of love for us. Nobody else is going to feel it, just you. If you choose to love someone, that is only an experience that you get to have.

The next thing that I want you to know is that you're going to get it wrong. You're not going to be good at love, and that's not a problem. Okay? So again, love is not easy. And we talk about love in a family like it should be the default setting. Like it should just be easy. Like that's the minimum baseline. You're a mother, you should at least, like, love your kids and it should be easy. But remember that love is the highest ideal and you aren't going to be good at it. And that's okay and neither are the people that you live with, and that's okay. The more chances that you have to interact with people, the harder they are to love, okay? Now that is not a problem.

And so, your fit family is the perfect place to practice love exactly as they are. Okay, so don't judge yourself if you're not good at it, if it's challenging, if it's difficult. I had a client just the other day, was telling me, like, I should be better at this by now. And I just said, like, says who, right? She's like, Well, why do they still bother me? As like, because you have a brain, right? Don't judge yourself. Get curious about the thoughts your brain is offering you. What am I thinking that creates this feeling? And instead of thinking like, I should never have this thought. Just recognize of course, my brain offered me this thought, how do I get into a space where I can choose something else? You know, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of Zion, you know, like Enoch's people. They created this place of Zion, and I think a lot of times we're under the impression that, like, everybody was so good, and everybody was so kind, and everybody was so perfect that like, of course, like it was easy to love each other, and they just got translated, right?

But I don't think it was Zion because everybody, like, performed perfectly. And so, they became easy to love and like, they were always behaving the way that everybody else wanted them to. I think it was Zion because they each individually developed the skill of love and that no matter what anybody else around them chose, they could overcome their brain and choose love no matter what their brain offered them, right? It wasn't that they became unhuman, that they lost their brain, that they never had the negative thoughts and they were never offered them. They just got really, really good at choosing love. And so, it is not a problem that your brain is offering you an alternative, but it offers you other feelings besides love, right? Like this is just an opportunity. Okay, I need more practice here and you do not have to beat yourself up about that. You just recognize, like this is the perfect place to practice. I get to try again, and the better I get at that, the more like. Zion occurs in my heart. Zion occurs in my own home. And listen, nobody else has to, like, do that work for you to have that experience.

Okay, the last thing that I want to say is that there is no such thing as happily ever after. There is just managing your brain forever after. Okay, so I was thinking about how like nobody enters into family life thinking it's going to be hard. Nobody enters family life thinking like, oh, this is going to be the worst. This is going to be a lot of work. This is going to be challenging. Like, everybody enters it thinking, like, now my happiness can begin. Now I'm going to live happily ever after. Now I'm going to feel love all the time and I'm going to like it's going to be amazing. Like, we all enter with that thought, right? That here comes happily ever after. And then it turns out like, what? What it really is here we are together. We've made a covenant. We're in this together. And now we've got like we're standing here together as two brains, and we're going about, like, have a family and a whole bunch of other brains. And now, like, it's not about being happy. It's about getting better at choosing.

And this is what we're in for here. Not happily ever after, but managing our brains forever after. Like getting better at choosing love. And I really like to think about like a lot of times when it when it doesn't turn out the way we think we did, we sometimes think like, well, I got ripped off, I thought it was going to be easier. I thought he was going to be different. I thought she was going to be different. I thought her kids were going to be different. I thought it was like something went wrong and I got ripped off. And I really want to offer you the thought, like, what if you didn't? What if you got instead exactly what you needed? What if you got instead the exact people that you need to practice love with? And not because they're good at it, but because they aren't.

Not because you're good at it. But because you aren't. You don't need everyone in your life to behave, to get your happily ever after. You just need them to be them. And then just keep focusing on what you are choosing. You can get so much more peace and enjoyment and love and joy out of your family life when you recognize like, Oh yeah, none of us are supposed to be good at this and we are just here together practicing. I tell my kids this all the time, like, choose somebody that you're willing to practice with because isn't going to be happily ever after. It's going to be managing your brain forever after and choose somebody that you want to do that work with. Okay, so I want you to remember that when you belong to a family, it is a 50/50 experience and that is not a problem. Okay, I want you to remember that other humans you live with all have varying skills at love, and that is not a problem. I want you to remember that everybody in your family has agency, and that is not a problem. I want you to remember that you are going to get it wrong, that you aren't going to be good at love. And that isn't a problem either.

And finally, I want you to remember that it's not supposed to be happily ever after. It's supposed to be an opportunity to practice managing your brain and practice choosing. And that is not a problem. In fact, it's the point. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening, and I'll see you next week.

Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. If you want to take the things I've talked about and apply them in your life so that you can love your Earth life experience. Sign up for a free coaching session at Aprilpricecoaching.com This is where the real magic happens and your life starts to change forever. As your coach, I'll show you that believing your life is 100% awesome is totally available to every one of us. The way things are is not the way things have to stay. And that, my friends is 100% awesome!

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