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How to Enhance Your Relationships: Transformational Insights

In this podcast episode, I dive into how coaching profoundly impacted my relationships, particularly with my husband and kids. I discuss the concept of "manuals", which are unspoken rules we have for people in our lives. 

 

The episode highlights the negative impact of tying our emotions to whether others comply with these rules and how this disempowers us. 

 

I share my personal experiences of frustration and how learning to release these manuals improved my relationships. 

 

I emphasize the importance of recognizing that feelings come from thoughts, not external circumstances. 

 

The episode encourages listeners to take responsibility for their feelings and focus on what they can control – their thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

 

I also talk about how in my own self- reflection, I uncovered this belief that you should sacrifice for those that you love.  I realized how damaging this belief can be.  

 

Beliefs shape our feelings and actions.  And the belief that one must constantly sacrifice for loved ones can indeed lead to issues in relationships. It's essential to strike a balance between self-sacrifice and self-care to maintain healthy relationships. Examining and challenging one's beliefs and expectations can be a valuable first step towards improving relationships and fostering better outcomes. Prioritizing your own needs, while still caring for others, is crucial for maintaining a positive attitude and healthy connections with those you love.

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TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the podcast! I’m so happy you’re here!

 

Today I want to talk about the area in my life that was the most profoundly impacted by coaching and that is relationships.  Especially the relationship with my husband and kids.  

 

My relationships got better whenI learned about this concept of manuals from The Life Coach School.  And it’s this idea that we all have these instructions (or manuals) for how we want another human being to behave in our life in order for us to feel better. And it’s funny because many times we don’t even share with people this rule book we have for them of how we want them to behave, we just expect them to do these things.  We expect that people should just be able to read our minds, and this can get us into some trouble.

 

And when described in this way it really does open your eyes to the fact that yea that actually is what is going on.  I am making my happiness dependent on whether or not another human being complies with my rules.  And when we put it this way, it kinda sounds a little ridiculous doesn’t it?

 

And these manuals put us in a very disempowered position because we can’t control all of the people.  We can’t control the world outside of us.  We can’t even control our kids.  In fact it’s this desire to want to control the universe that ends up making us miserable and drains us of our energy.  

 

It creates a lot of tension and angst within ourselves and in the relationships we are in because we are met with much resistance.  First of all, no one likes to be controlled.  How do you feel when someone is trying to control you? It’s not a good feeling.  We all value our freedom, don’t we?  So it’s no wonder that we are met with resistance and push back from another person when that’s what we are ultimately doing to them. 

 

Now we may not see it this way when we are in it.  For example, maybe I get mad that my husband repeatedly comes home late from work.  Well essentially, it’s this manual I have that says he should arrive home by 4 so that he can give me a break from the kids, and then if he did that then maybe I wouldn’t be so grumpy. 

 

I used to get so frustrated,I used to just like spin in my head about him being late.  I would say things in my head like, “he is such a jerk, he always does this, this is so unfair, he gets a break being at work all day, he doesn’t get what it’s like being at home all day with these kids and the temper tantrums, he doesn’t appreciate me, life would be so much better and easier if  we lived closer to my family and friends .”  It was this talk that would get me all wound up emotionally, cause me all of this stress and anger, I was this ticking time bomb and by the time he got home make one false move and I’m gonna explode.

 

But when I learned that I had this manual for him.  When I learned that I was responsible for my own emotions, I could then take a step back from my immediate knee jerk reaction of getting all worked up about it, and my rational brain could come online.  I could then start to see first of all he is not doing this with the intention to hurt me. He has a job, one that provides a good living for his family, and sometimes that job requires him to work a little late.

 

Then I don’t get so worked up and it doesn’t add that extra layer of frustration.  And when I can just kind of like talk myself out of this state, then when he gets home we are going to have a very different result.  

 

Whereas before when he would come home I might be stand-offish, give him the silent treatment, be cold or resentful towards him.  Instead I’m just like oh yea, it’s so good to see you, glad your home how was your day. 

 

 And the funny thing is that he ends up getting home at a decent hour more regularly now.  It’s funny how things work out that way. I really do believe in the magic that happens when you choose to do this work, managing your mind and your thoughts.  

 

When I started applying this concept with my kids, it was so eye opening suddenly I was like oh ya, this makes total sense that they are having a temper tantrum.  It’s a control thing. They can’t have what they want, then they have this  big emotion which comes out on display in the form of screaming, crying, flailing their bodies all over the place because they just don’t know what to do with the emotion.  We as adults have a hard enough time managing our emotions, so it’s no wonder why and of course they are gonna have a temper tantrum. I may not like it when they do and we are so quick to think something has gone wrong and want to make it stop , but it makes perfect sense that this is what’s happening.

 

It’s one, they are mad because they can’t do or get what they want, essentially they are being “controlled”, so they fight back.  Then I get mad and essentially have a mommy temper tantrum because  they are not behaving in a way that I want them to.  Because if they would just listen, if they didn’t fight with one another, if they didn’t jump on the couch, if they ate their food, then I would get to feel like a good mother, then I would get to feel calm.  But I am completely giving my power away when I think like this.  And many of us do this subconsciously.

 

But we are giving our power away when we are depending on the things outside of us to feel a certain way.  Because as much as we would love to, we can’t control the universe.  But what we CAN control is our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and ultimately our results.  

 

Another thing I want to add and highlight is the fact that feelings come from our THOUGHTS.  They don’t come from external circumstances. Circumstances are facts and they are always neutral, meaning they are not good nor are they bad until you have a thought about them.  

 

Let me give you an example.  Let’s Take the example of my kid jumping on the couch.  The fact that my kid is jumping on the couch is a circumstance, and it is not good or bad.  It just is.  But it’s when I have a thought about it that makes it positive or negative.  

 

So my kids jumping on the couch.  You don’t care that my kids jumping on the couch right?  It doesn’t have any impact on you at all, it doesn’t make you mad, frustrated, or stressed, not in the least bit.  But I might have a thought that they are being disrespectful, they don’t listen, I must be doing something wrong that these kids don’t listen to me.  Those thoughts makes me feel frustrated.  But I have this delusion that if they would just stop jumping on the couch then I wouldn’t feel frustrated.  But it’s the thoughts I’m having about it that causes the frustration.  You might argue that maybe I would feel calm if they stopped jumping on the couch.  But what happens is that my feeling changed because my thoughts changed.  When they stop jumping on the couch I have a thought I’m so glad they are listening, or maybe it’s just the absence of the previous thoughts I mentioned “they are being disrespectful and they don’t listen”.

 

Does this make sense?

 

The key takeaway here is that you don't need to wait for external circumstances to change or for others to change in order to experience the emotions you desire. It's entirely within your control. However, I must emphasize that this advice does not apply to situations involving abuse. If you are in a relationship where your safety is at risk, please seek immediate help. For most situations, though, often just one person initiating change can lead to significant improvements in a relationship.

 

It’s  almost like magic when one person decides to make a change, and the ripple effect starts to improve relationships. Instead of being fueled by a need for control, you'll find compassion for the people in your life. You'll take responsibility for what you can control and no longer place your happiness solely on whether others meet your expectations.

 

When we attach our emotions to someone conforming to our 'rule book,' it's akin to behaving like a toddler having a tantrum when things don't go our way. It's no surprise that this leaves us both unhappy and stuck in a cycle of frustration.

 

When we can understand this, and really integrate this into our lives, we will live a much more peaceful life I promise you. And I have.  It’s definitely something that I am still working on every day, but I have grown leaps and bounds since starting this work.  I notice that I don’t get as triggered by things that people say, I don’t waste time or energy ruminating on them, over analyzing why did they say that or what did they mean by that, because I understand what is going on.  

 

Now this doesn’t mean don’t make requests or have expectations of others. I encourage you to do this. Make requests, but just don’t tie your emotions to whether or not others could moly with your requests.

 

As an adult human being, they can do whatever they want, behave however they want, and this applies to you, too. So just know that and stop trying to control, just make your request and know that other person does not have to comply just because you made the request.  Don’t think that just because you made the request and they didn’t follow instructions that you now have permission to be upset. No, take ownership of your feelings. Remind yourself that adults get to do whatever they want, they don’t have to follow your rules. And you don’t have to make it mean they don’t like  or respect you.

 

For example you ask your husband to put his dirty clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor or hung over a railing. Just because he doesn’t follow through on this all the time doesn’t mean he doesn’t love or respect you. Ask yourself, what else could this mean? Maybe he just forgets. Maybe it’s a hardwired habit for him that’s difficult to break. Maybe he’s trying to save energy and water, and maybe he’s trying to save me the work of adding to the size of the laundry I’ll have to do.  The only way you will find out for sure is by having an open conversation about it. And not a conversation fueled with anger or frustration, but one that comes from a place of genuine curiosity. You know the difference right? It’s the difference from being like “ I have asked you so many times to put your dirty clothes in the hamper, why can’t you do it?” Vs. “ hey I noticed you left some clothes hanging over the railing. Out of pure curiosity, is there a reason your not putting them in the hamper?”

 

Now since I’m guessing most of you who listen are moms, you’re probably wondering how you can implement this with your  kids. Like we can’t just let the kids do whatever they want all the time, there must be some rules and structure, especially when it comes to their health and safety.

 

So yes with kids of course you have rules, set expectations and boundaries, but with regards to this way of thinking you don’t tie your emotions to whether or not they follow the rules. So it’s like this, there is a consequence when they do not follow the expectation you have for them but that doesn’t mean you have to get upset about it. So you set expectation toys must be picked up off the floor when you are done playing. If you don’t do this the consequence will be fill in the blank. I’m not gonna get upset about it but just know that will be the consequence. Rather than saying if you don’t pick up your toys mommy is going to be very upset. And I have to say this one with the kids is one I struggle with the most. Like if I’m being transparent, it’s hard for me not to get upset when my son bites my daughter, right? But it’s essentially showing them by example how to be responsible for their own emotions, that they don’t have to have a major meltdown anytime someone doesn’t fulfill their request.


 

Another example of how this shows up for me is  this manual I have for Chris that he should wake right up when his alarm clock goes off and he shouldn’t let the alarm go on and on cuz it’s gonna wake the kids. I can make a request that he does this, but it doesn’t mean he has to do it and I’m not gonna get mad at him when he doesn’t follow thru. Well the question might come up well then how do I get what I want or how do I then change the circumstance? And my answer to that is get clear on what it is that you want? The reason we do or don’t do anything is to feel a certain emotion or to avoid feeling what we might view as an unpleasant or negative emotion. So if you were able to change this C, how do you imagine you might feel? In this C with my husband and the alarm clock I imagine that I wouldn’t feel frustrated. Ok great. Well now let’s go back to where do feelings come from? They come from thoughts. So what thought am I having about his alarm going off that is causing me to feel all this frustration? That noise is so annoying. How can he let it go on and on like that and not wake up and shut it off. He’s gonna wake up the kids. He should get up and shut it off. If he wanted to sleep in more then he should set the alarm for later. Essentially he should be doing something different other than what he was doing because if he did then I wouldn’t be so frustrated. But I know I can’t force him to do anything, and that’s where the frustration is actually coming from this thought that I can’t control him and get him to do what I want him to do which is wake up and shut off the alarm clock so I don’t have to listen to it. But if I let go of this manual that I  have for him, what am I left with? Me and my thoughts, feelings and actions. So I don’t have to choose to be frustrated. Being frustrated is a choice. I could choose to think about this differently. Ya know not everyone is like me or thinks just like me. It’s hard for some people to get up right away when the alarm clock goes off. He is not doing this with the intention of causing any harm, he doesn’t necessarily want to frustrate me and I know he doesn’t want to wake up the kids. It’s just something that’s hard for him to do. And when I think of it that way I can have some compassion for him, I don’t need to be frustrated about it what’s the point it doesn’t change anything to be frustrated. And then from there I focus on me and what I can do. Well I can have a conversation about it later with him and get curious about why does he think he can’t get up when the alarm goes off and why does he let it go on and on. Not from a place of judgment but from one of genuine curiosity. Then we both might figure out an answer, because maybe this is something he doesn’t want to be doing, letting the alarm clock go on and on. 

Alternatively, I take it upon myself to shut it off and kindly wake him up and let him know hey your alarm was going off and I just want you to know I’m shutting it off so it doesn’t wake the kids up.

 

This coaching is really is a self reflection an evaluation of how we are living our life, why we do the things that we do, why we feel the way that we do, how it’s all self created. Not in a way that is like blaming ourselves but more we can take the responsibility and be empowered by it. Because if we had the power to create it then we have the power to change it.

 

One last thing I want to mention which was a huge source of contention between Chris and I was so he fact that I want us to move closer to my home and his strong stance against it.

 

my thought for a long time was that if he really loved me he would make that sacrifice. Because you make sacrifices for those that you love. But says who? That’s not a fact, just a belief. And beliefs are just thoughts we’ve been thinking for a really long time. And they came from media, our upbringing maybe it’s something our parents said, what we learned from our religion. But is it true? It’s not in fact. Just because you don’t sacrifice yourself for someone doesn’t mean you don’t love them and vice versa. And guess what I’m doing when I chose to believe that you sacrifice for those that you love. I show love by self sacrifice. Let me say that one more time for those in the back. When we believe that we must sacrifice for those that we love, we then show our love through self sacrifice. And I believe that a lot of us are doing this, especially as moms. And not only are we denying ourself, our needs,but many of us are also harboring a lot of resentment because of it. I’m not saying don’t do kind things for people no. It’s question this belief that you must sacrifice your needs in order to show your love for others. We can continue to perform acts of kindness for others while ensuring that we also prioritize our own needs and well-being. It's essential not to engage in actions that disregard our own self-care or force us into activities we don't genuinely want to do, which can lead to resentment. By taking care of ourselves, we not only feel better but also become better equipped to assist others. This fosters a genuine desire to help, rather than acting out of a sense of obligation that may eventually breed resentment.. . And when you help from the place of I’ve taken care of my needs you get a much better outcome. Because think of how you behave from a place of obligation verses genuinely wanting to do something because this is the person I want to be and how I want to show up in the world. Obligation: your not giving it your all, you might be snippy and short with other people, the feelings of resentment cause you to emit a negative attitude maybe, think about your tone and how you talk to people from this place when your  thinking I have to do this verses I want to do this.

 

So take what you will from this episode today. Think about the people in your life you have manuals fir. You can even have manuals for yourself. I encourage you to think of one person this week. Write down what your manual is for that person and how you would imagine you might feel if they followed what you wanted them to do. Know that feeling is available regardless of whether or not this person complies with your expectations. 

 

Try to take responsibility for your feelings because they are coming from your thoughts. Allow people to be who they are without trying to change them, and you are going to live a much more peaceful life my friends.

 

Remember, it only takes one person to be the change and make a difference. I encourage you to take the first step today by completing the  exercises tailored to complement this episode. They are designed to help guide you through self awareness and reflection which will ultimately help improve your relationships. Access this work sheet  in the show notes.

 

And if you found this show valuable I would so appreciate it if you would subscribe, rate and review it. This helps more people find the show so I can help more amazing moms just like you!

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