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Video: Emotional Childhood

Join in as Brooke Castillo from the Life Coach School talks about Emotional Childhood vs. Emotional Maturity.  Emotional childhood is blaming others for how you feel.  Emotional maturity is taking full responsibility for your own feelings – it is understanding that no one can cause you to feel a certain way. You get to decide how you want to feel.

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Episode Transcript:

Hi it's Brooke Castillo from the Life Coach School. In this video, I'm going to be talking to you about the concept of Emotional Childhood.Now, a lot of times when I bring this concept up with coaches and with students, they think I'm talking about the inner child from a concept that a lot of people talk about nurturing your inner child. That is not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the concept of emotional childhood. What I mean by that is that our emotional maturity has not matured beyond childhood.Here's what I mean by that. As children we are not fully responsible for our emotion. We don't have the capacity or the ability to control our emotions and we don't know that we're responsible for them. Nor should we, we're children, right? Nobody takes us aside when we're 18 and says, "Okay, now that you're an adult, you are now responsible and need to take responsibility for all of your feelings. As you go through your life you need to know that whatever feeling that you have, you are the one responsible for it."It's a bummer that they don't do this because if they did do this, we would have much happier lives. What we do is we give so much of our power away to other people with blame and with attributing everything we're feeling to them. Causing ourselves so much suffering. Think about it, if you're the reason why I'm feeling upset, I don't have any control over being upset. Because you're the one that has that power over me. As long as you're the reason why I'm upset, then I'm pretty much screwed because I have to be upset because you're in charge.

Emotional maturity which is the opposite of emotional childhood says that whatever feeling I have is my responsibility. It's never your responsibility for how I feel. You can behave however you want and how I decide to feel is up to me. If you remember being in grade school, a lot of what they'll teach you is, "Hey little Sally, you just hurt little Billy's feelings." We actually teach our kids that this person is responsible for your feelings, right? This person hurt your feelings.

Then we go into adulthood saying, "You hurt my feelings." Nobody has the ability to hurt your feelings. Here's why, all of our feelings are caused by a thought in our head. If you have a thought about something, then you're going to feel of certain way. If somebody yells at me, how I decide to feel is going to be determined on what I think.

Let's say somebody yells and I think, "Oh, they're having a bad day. You know, something's going on with them. You know, I'm going to cut them some slack there." Then I'm not going to really be upset. If they yell at me and I think, "Oh my gosh, they must think I'm a horrible person, maybe I am a horrible person. Oh my gosh, this is awful, they're so mean." Then I'm going to feel very differently based on what I've decided to think.

Either way, I'm the one that caused my feeling. I'm the one that created that for myself. This is so important because when you go into this phase of really understanding that you're responsible for how you feel, you'll feel incredibly empowered. It's like knowing that nobody else can cause you to feel a certain way, you get to decide how you want to feel. When this happens, you all of a sudden go to a space where you are allowing other people to be exactly who they are.

Think about this, if you're responsible for how I feel then I'm going to have a vested interest in controlling you. You're the one causing all my feelings, so I need you to behave this, this, this, this, this way so I can feel a certain way. It's the long way around, right? All of a sudden I have this middle man, I have this person that I have to try to control like a chess piece so then I can feel a certain way.

That's emotional childhood, that had us as stomping and screaming and "You need to do what I want you to do so I can feel a certain way." Versus knowing that I decide how I feel, you get to behave however you want to feel. That's emotional maturity. It also means on the flip side of that that I'm not responsible for how you feel. Now, a lot of my students will say, "Oh, well great, so I can just be rude all the time. I can just be mean all the time." I remind them, I said, "In order for you to act in a way that is negative, you have to be feeling negative emotion.

What I have found is that when we take full responsibility for our own feelings, we start acting in a way that is much more supportive of other people. Because we don't feel like we have to control them. The concept is emotional childhood means you blame other people for how you feel and emotional maturity is you take full responsibility for all of your own feelings.

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