Realizing that we have the power to choose our emotions in response to events is pivotal in understanding our ability to create change in the way we navigate happiness or unhappiness in our lives. Happiness comes from within and the choices we make create the experiences we have.
We can find peace in emotional pain because the emotions we feel are entirely our choice. None of us are victims of our emotions. No event or person can emotionally “make” us feel a certain way. For example, I may tell someone that they made me upset because of something they said or didn’t say, but in reality that person can’t make me be upset. However, my belief that they did something that I felt was wrong can. My belief gives power to how I choose to respond and feel.
We freely choose to assign an emotion to any given event. We cannot control whatever stimuli is thrown in our direction, but we CAN control how we respond to it. This is significant because in situations where one might decide to feel powerless, hurt, or defeated in response to an event or what they perceive as a negative stimuli in their life, one can instead reevaluate what is happening to them and pick an emotion that allows them to feel supported, comforted, and powerful. The power of choice and reflection can bring about cognizance of how a particular stimulus makes you feel which in turn allows for self-awareness and self-evolvement.
Making a choice to respond differently takes a high degree of awareness, attention and persistence, but you CAN choose differently. Emotions are often reactions. WE give them power. Begin to recognize your own emotions as choices, as things that you do. And watch how you grow….
The choice to look at our son and choose emotions of awe and amazement instead of fear, dread, or doom has given us all the opportunity to discover a level of joy and happiness that only comes from an outlook of optimism and gratefulness. I don’t know where we would be today if we had not been fortunate enough to realize the power in making this choice. We have been able to cultivate an environment where there are no hidden agendas or a need to be successful in order to be loved and accepted. This has given Lucas the support and complete freedom to reach for the stars without fear of failure or judgement. As a result, amazing things have happened!
Lucas has evolved so much since we started this program. He is now having simple 3 or 4 looped conversations with us, playing in and out of the playroom, feeling embarrassment (so huge!!!), and beginning to enjoy aspects of imaginary play.
I have so many videos to choose from. I wish you all had the time to watch all of them. I spend each week trying to decide which one to focus on. I decided to focus on imaginary play this week.
A little history:
I remember scripting imaginary play with Lucas 5 years ago through ABA. So for example we would model 5 or 6 actions/sentences to say with figurines/playhouse and for each action or vocalization that he would copy, Lucas would receive an edible treat (his “reinforcer”). I remember crying in response to seeing my son “play” this way the first time he did it. It was the closest thing I had ever seen to actual play at that time. Mind you there was never a light in his eye from enjoyment (other than the receipt of the treat of course) and he still never took to actually playing with toys as a result of this activity.
Through Son-Rise methods, we have found no need for scripting or reinforcers in our play because we create an environment where the imaginary play itself is the motivating part (reinforcer). The amount of creativity, enthusiasm, excitement, and energy our team brings to the room in order to inspire Lucas to grow is immense. Through joining and really tuning into his motivations in each individual session, we are given clues as to how to best relate to Lucas and make our play fun, engaging and enticing. The exciting part is that Lucas is now creating his own imaginary play! He will ask for dog and cat tickles. He will ask for the same blanket to be a tent, a fort, a car, a train, a bus. The light in his eyes is present and he is most definitely delighting in play!
These two videos are about 3 to 4 minutes in totality, but so worth watching. I’ve included both because I think it is important to see the transition our volunteer takes into imaginary play (from a tickle request, to counting down to the tickle, to creating a rocket ship experience!) and additionally so fun to see Lucas actively engaged! This is significant because a year ago, even a few months ago, Lucas would’ve watched for maybe a second and then went back to doing an ism (stim).