How many of you have “manuals” for how other people should behave?
Whether they are family members, or co-workers, or just other people encounter during your day, we tend to have “manuals” for how we want them to behave. Here are some of my example thoughts related to this principle:
“They shouldn’t talk about people in such a mean way.”
“He should not behave that way.”
“They should say something nice instead of always criticizing.”
Those are some negative “manual” thoughts that sometimes appear in my own head. But they are actually false! How do I know that? Because they DO talk about people, he DOES behave that way, and they DO criticize.
We have no control over others’ behavior. But sometimes we think “if only they would behave differently then we could be happy.” \
This is actually a position of powerlessness. When we realize that we can respond to people from our own cleaned-up thoughts about the situation, we free ourselves. We cannot control the world. (Those of us who are control freaks find this a little hard to accept sometimes.)
Separate out what a person is saying (or how they are acting) from the thoughts and interpretations in your head. Then you realize it is not related to you, it is more about THEM.
This does not mean you should be a “doormat” or that you should not make requests of them (like “please stop”). That is totally fine. But you have to accept that people will choose to behave however they behave. Sometimes you need to have proper boundaries if they are mistreating you.
But the only person who’s thoughts, emotions and actions you can manage are yours. This is incredibly liberating, the more you practice awareness of your own thoughts and feelings, the more you take back the true power in your life.
Is there anyone in your life that is bugging you because they are not following your manual? Consider whether it’s time to trash that manual. Thanks to Brooke Castillo for first teaching me this principal. It has been a game-changer.