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The Manual

feelings the manual Feb 05, 2020

We all have expectations of others. 

I expect my husband to be quiet as a mouse when he comes into bed after I've gone to sleep and be in a good mood when he comes home from work, even if I'm not. 

I expect clients to pay on time. They communicate their feedback without using phrases like "that looks stupid", or "yeah, so since my wife's favorite color is purple, so I was thinking that would be a better color for the company brand."

These are examples of what I call having "a manual" for someone. "A manual" is instruction guide for those people in our lives that lists the ways they should and should not behave in order for me to feel good and be happy. Violations of the manual result in offending our feelings. 

We usually don't tell anyone about items in our manual, we think they should intrinsically know how to treat us accordingly, without being told.  When they do know how to follow it, then we are eager to interpret this as a sign of affirmation, or use at as source of pain when they don't.

The problem with this is that manuals don't work. 

But I'm not gonna lie, it would be pretty sweet if it did.

However, when you have your emotional happiness tied up in the way someone else behaves, you're setting yourself up for disappointment and the relationship up for pain and dysfunction.

Many of us think that we'd be happier if people in our lives like clients, spouses, or parents would just change. But this expectation is nothing more than a big fat guarantee we will suffer in some form or fashion. When you hand over the keys to someone else to drive your emotional state, you are setting yourself for a disappointment and make a wreck of the relationship.

Other people's behavior has no impact on us emotionally. Not until we actually think about, interpret and choose to make it mean something does it actually impact us. People in our lives don't have the power to make us feel anything. No one on the planet has that superpower.

Our brains interpret their behavior with thoughts. Thoughts cause feelings. Other people do not. Circumstances do not. Thoughts are always the cause. And they are always optional.

When you feel responsible for filling someone else's needs and they feel responsible for filling yours, you are always in manipulation and controlling efforts. In the end, nobody wins. You cannot control another person. In the end, that wouldn't actually make you happy. 

You make you happy. 

Your partner may do things that make you think and feel positively here and there, they won't be able to do those things all the time. And they may not want to. 

Giving other people control of how you feel is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention a total drag to be in a relationship with a "needy Nellie". 

Speaking for myself here, but I sure do struggle to control and manage myself, so pretty sure I'm not going to do well with other humans! I should not and do not want to be responsible for the feelings of others. I promise I will mess that up.

Even if someone else were good at pleasing us, they'd never be able to really satisfy our need for connection, acceptance and approval. That is something we get the biggest bonus from fulfilling for ourselves. 

People coming together because they want to... all responsible for their own feelings, regardless of others, having fun, doing their best... this is where the best relationships function. This is also where we create better results in our lives. 

If you are struggling in a relationship or with taking control of your results, I am taking one on one clients and would love to help. Reach out today!




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