Maybe attacking the problem is not the solution

I've been thinking about how important it is to separate behavior from identity. That is, just because someone feels, thinks, or acts a certain way doesn't mean that's who they are at their core.

To use an example that's fresh on my mind: Just because my daughter taunts and demeans her younger brother doesn't mean she is a mean kid. And I don't have to think of myself as a bad mom, either, when I feel like I want to strangle her.

I have a choice about how to see people, and I choose to believe that, at our core, we are all okay. Children of God. Star stuff. Beautiful and beloved.

When I remember that, it's a lot easier to get curious about what is going on, instead of worrying about what's wrong and needing to fix it.

Maybe my kid is mean not because she enjoys it, but because she's lost touch with what actually makes her happy, and she'd rather distract herself by lashing out at her brother than sit with that discomfort. 

Maybe I get mad at her for the same reason.

Maybe my hyperfocusing on her behavior toward her brother just creates more distraction for us both.

Maybe instead of telling her how bad her behavior is, I simply need to remind her of what she loves and what she cares about.

Maybe I need to spend some more time paying attention to what those things are.