Pouting. We all dislike it, but I bet most of us still do it. So, this topic is not just reserved for our kids. Do you pout when you don’t get your way? Does your spouse? I’m a world-class pouter. But, thankfully, my adult brain occasionally kicks in to persuade me of the folly of that behavior. For our kids, that adult brain isn’t there yet.
Isn’t it the “little kid” in us that pouts? When we don’t get our way, isn’t that the instinctual reaction? What should we do with that instinct? Is there a better way to channel it?
Of course there is. Just express what is bothering you to your partner in a non-accusatory way saying something such as, “I feel this (or that) way.” Ahhh, wouldn’t that be nice if we could do that? But, our pride and/or stubbornness tend to get in the way – – at least that’s the way it is with my wife. Ha!
Pride is another trait that usually only gets us in trouble because standing on our pride never works. I’m sure my readers can supply endless clichés about pride but we all know when our pride is getting in the way of our best interests whether at work, play, or home. I suppose pride also shows up when we are feeling insecure and we mix up that insecurity with a sense of self-righteousness.
While I love to joke at my wife’s expense, especially since she rarely reads my columns or listens to my radio show, it’s usually me who is the guilty one with both pride and pouting. With the latter, I’m world-class, as stated earlier. I even can make that pouty face with my lower lip protruding. We’ve all seen that one before.
With pride I am happy to say that I’ve actually matured. A little. At the very least I recognize when my pride is intruding and usually I’ll adjust my behavior accordingly. I like when I can do that because I end up saving myself a bunch of needless aggravation and grief. That’s the irony of most or our bad behaviors, traits, and quirks. They don’t serve us yet we regularly employ and repeat them. How stupid is that?
How about our children? There’s not a child on earth who hasn’t pouted and/or tried to use that pouty expression to get their way. As parents we are doing them NO SERVICE when we give in to their manipulation. Our job, as I regularly say, is to be our kid’s best parent rather than their best friend. So, simply feeling sorry for our kid because they “earned” a punishment or don’t get their way is absolutely no reason to mitigate the consequence they’re pouting about.
In fact, it only reinforces their bad behavior and delays their maturity when they don’t get their way. If you’re married, you certainly understand about not getting your way. If you’re employed, your certainly understand about not getting your way. The sooner a child gets this, the better. And, for those adults who still behave like children, they will just delay their happiness until they get real with pride and pouting, and let it go.
When is pride a good thing, if ever? I think taking pride in your work can define the boundaries you set around your work. If you’ve established a cost for your services, the pride that won’t let you settle for less is a good thing. If you’ve achieved a level of success in your work in which you will not take on difficult clients, then you’ve also established a good boundary. The same goes for content or subjects/issues you are not willing to deal with.
An example of the latter is my willingness to or not to have certain sponsors for my tweet chat, #DadChat. I am clear that I will not take on any product, brand, or service that is contrary to the values I’ve worked so hard to establish with not only my brand, but #DadChat. So, while I’d love to have a big payday, I won’t work with cigarette companies, for example.
Knowing your boundaries makes decisions so much easier. The same is true in personal relationships. For example, you could say that it’s pride when you have certain dietary and drinking limits. When people challenge you to have another drink or eat that rich dessert, declining isn’t a problem when you know this is a boundary for yourself. I’m not sure this example is exactly on point, but it at least relates.
So, there is good pride and there is bad pride. As for pouting, I think there is no place it serves anyone. The sooner it is out of our personality behavior, the better. Maybe I’ll get there someday?
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