On Friday, I was a guest on a podcast and I had the opportunity to talk about manuals. A manual is an instruction guide we have for someone in our lives about how we would like them to behave so we can feel good and be happy. The interesting thing about manuals is that we rarely share with that person what is actually inside that guide!!! We just expect them to know what our expectations are and when they don't do certain things or say certain things... you guessed it, we get upset or are disappointed.
While it may seem justified to have expectations of other people, it can be very damaging when your emotional happiness is directly tied to their behaving a certain way.
Many of the clients I coach will have manuals that stem from the belief that they would be happier if someone in their lives would change. This is a huge cause of suffering and sadness because they're handing over the power of how they feel to someone else! YIKES!! One of the more powerful things I can teach them and you is that this is NEVER true!
Other people's behavior has no impact on us emotionally until we thing about it, interpret it, and choose to make it mean something. Remember..... our thoughts create our feelings, not other people! No matter what people do, how they act, or what they say or don't say, we don't have to give others the power to determine how we feel! How amazing is that?!?!
Here are a couple of manuals I used to carry around with me:
My family should come visit me more often
My kids should be more respectful
My boss should recognize my hard work and stop breathing down my neck
My friend should be more interested in my coaching business
Slow drivers should stay out of the left lane
People should be more understanding and kind to each other
They all sound like lovely and worthy thoughts... however, if these manuals weren't followed, I would be hurt, disappointed, angry and always feel like a victim. I was done being a victim! Whew!
Here are two things you can do to help you do away with those manuals because your happiness comes from you and nobody else.
The best first steps are to realize that these manuals are based on other people and we would benefit from taking responsibility for our own rules by creating personal operating manuals for ourselves instead. The truth is that most of us can't even control or manage ourselves Yet, we want to control and mange other people. Controlling our own behavior is challenging enough. Trying to control other people is inevitably frustrating for you and them and usually is ineffective.
Take responsibility for how you feel regardless of other people's behavior. This is an empowering way to live and creates better results in your life. This doesn't mean that you stay in relationships that are harmful or not serving you well. You need to do what's necessary to protect yourself. Although boundaries are appropriate, trying to control and manipulate other people never works. Instead, it will make you feel and even act like a crazy person.
You get to decide what you're going to do with your time and energy, how you're going to respond to others and when you want to make changes in your life.
Here's your assignment for the week!
Consider letting go of a manual and making mental request for one week with one person! Genuinely notice what this person does when you don't try to control them. Focus on trying to control only yourself and your responses to how this person behaves. What do you imagine your life will be like???
You'll find that your life is enhanced by being around people who genuinely do things they want to do rather than doing things because you're emotionally manipulating them. If you are willing to give it a try, you'll find that this changes EVERYTHING!
It's time to try something different! It will be fun, I promise!
Let's do this! Your Life Coach Robin P.S. Spring is in the air! Are you ready to start spring cleaning? You can do some spring cleaning of your mind as well! Let's schedule some time to deep clean your brain and get you ready for an amazing summer!