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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

Let Your Negative Emotions Fuel Positive Action in Child Custody

(4 min read) We just talked about embarrassment versus shame, how the former is part of life and even helpful while the latter stems from a debilitating kind of fear. It got me thinking about the flipside of other “reactionary” emotions and how we can translate that negative energy into positive action and progress.

This can be touchy because no one wants to do things for the wrong reasons, but sometimes it’s more important that things get done, period, regardless of where our heart and head’s at when it gets done.

Take Michael Jordan for instance. He spent the better part of his Hall of Fame acceptance speech revisiting various slights throughout his life and how those things motivated and drove him to his unparalleled success. Sure, he’s a flawed individual and has his demons, but we all got Michael Jordan in return.

Point is, you’re going to feel what you’re going to feel, especially in Child Custody and especially at first. Though through practice or therapy or prayer I firmly believe that our initial negative reactions may be tempered over time, we might as well use that negative energy at the beginning of this process. So here we go….

Anger -> Energy

This is where I think about a college football team streaming a bad loss on repeat in the team gym. It might not be the healthiest thing in the world to focus on your “enemies,” but if it helps a linebacker get through that last set or last few reps that will make the difference in the 4th quarter on gameday, then perhaps the ends justify the means.

Okay, so a long term solution would be to not get mad in the first place, but in the meantime we might as well get fired up and do some good. Avoid arguments, angry calls or text. Hell, just avoid the source of your anger. Double down at work to get your finances straight. Go run a mile rather than drowning the negative emotions in a bottle. If aggressive Child Custody litigation is necessary to show the Other Side you won’t tolerate what they’re doing to you and your family, then grit your teeth and get after it.

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Doubt -> Commitment

How badly do you want to prove the Other Side wrong. This is the Michael Jordan example in the introduction. For better or worse, MJ proved a lot of folks wrong. (See also, Tom Brady, the GOAT, getting drafted in the 6th round).Heck, even when he took his shot at baseball, when he probably proved a lot of folks right, he still wasn’t afraid to take his shot. Most importantly, he directed his energy towards something substantive.

Your doubter or haters or whatever can hold you just as accountable as your inner circle and support system, maybe even more so. Your workout partner will forgive you if you flake on them on a 630am workout. The Other Side, though, will bring up any mistake you make for who knows how long. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Stay focused and show them what you’re made of.

Exhaustion -> Rest

Listen to your body. If you’re frazzled or exhausted you need to find a friend or family member, (or maybe even the Other Side), to jump in on some of your time so you can take a break.

The best athletes on the planet focus on interval training, intense activity interspersed with several periods of rest. Bodybuilders rest muscle groups for days after a crushing workout.

We talk about proving people wrong here and that’s okay, but you don’t need to prove to yourself that you can work through mental and physical exhaustion. That doesn’t help anyone.

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Shame -> Embarrassment

We already did this one ^. Yes, embarrassment is a good thing. Read more here.

Conclusion and Key Takeaway

The key to all of these positive spins on negative emotions is redirection. Take the immediate feeling and redirect it away from the Other Side and redirect it towards something beneficial for yourself, your family and your system.


This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot

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