Let’s talk about the people in your life.
All the people, including yourself.
Whether conscious or unconscious, we all have ideas about how people should act.
We’ve picked up these beliefs as we grow up. Sometimes we are taught directly. For example your mother telling you that you shouldn’t say mean things to people.
Or indirectly like when your father would get frustrated with other drivers.
Each one of us then creates a rule book in our mind for how everyone should act, from our waitress to our spouse to the president.
I call these Manuals.
Most of us are unaware of these manuals. But once we start watching our thoughts, we start to see them everywhere.
And that’s ok.
Just noticing them is going to give you so much insight into why you feel the way you do.
Because it’s not what people do, it’s that unwritten rule you think they are following or breaking that causes your emotions. And what you are making it mean.
Here are a few examples of manuals:
Husbands should text if they will be late.
In-laws shouldn’t comment on my choices.
People shouldn’t forget my baby’s birthday.
Waiters should always keep the water glass full.
The president should always be polite.
Children should listen.
She should understand why I can’t come to the baby shower.
These rules seem reasonable to us. Many of them seem like facts. But these are all thoughts that we can decide if we want to believe or not.
Question your manuals and see if they are serving you. Because we are always seeking a feeling, we think that if people would just act the way we want them to, THEN we could feel what we want to feel.
If my husband was more romantic, then we would have a stronger connection.
If my friends would invite me out more often, then I would feel included and close to them.
If people would acknowledge my child, then I would feel supported and validated.
If I could just lose 25 lbs, then I could love myself.
But this is giving all your power away. Because the only way you get to feel what you want to feel is if they change.
And that probably isn’t going to happen.
The true power comes from recognizing these manuals and letting them go. Just drop them.
Some will be easier than others, but with work, you can do it.
Focus on loving the humans in your life just as they are. Stop spending your emotional and mental energy fighting reality.
When we let go of these manuals we have the chance to see relationships as they truly are. We stop blaming other people for how we feel. We begin to take care of our own emotional needs and learn to just enjoy the people in our lives. We show up as our best selves.
We learn to love unconditionally, and love is always the best choice.
If you have someone in your life who is hard to love, or a relationship you would like to improve, I’d love to help.
Click here to send me a message.