We all have a set of expectations for how other people SHOULD be in the world. What causes us pain & discomfort is the when the other people don’t do what we want them to. The problem is that other people get to do what they want to do – just like WE want to do what we want.
All right, so in this video, what I want to talk about is manuals. So, manuals are simply put a set of expectations that we have.
Now, we have manuals for everything. They are a set of opinions for how things and people should act. And the problem with manuals is that other people don’t necessarily have to follow our manual.
Think about it if someone tells me, “Elizabeth, you should always wear dresses.” Okay, that’s a set of expectations and I don’t feel like wearing dresses. I’m not going to want to do that. I wouldn’t necessarily appreciate someone saying that to me that I have to act a certain way. I’m an adult, I get to do whatever I want. And so, fortunately, or unfortunately, other adults in this world get to do whatever they want as well.
Now, in this lesson this week, we’re talking about manuals and we’re also talking about boundaries. Boundaries and manuals are a little bit different because manuals are our expectations of how other people should act. Whereas boundaries are a set of “if, then” statements. So, if someone does this to me, then I am going to respond by doing, “why?” All right?
It’s a little bit different because boundaries have to do with my personal space, or my stuff, or boundaries come from a place of self-love. Whereas manuals are really about controlling other people. And the way that the world works so that we can be happy. Okay?
So, they’re a little bit different. But I wanted to address both of them in the same week because they’re really important and both of them are dealing with other people. And how we make things mean something about us or them based on other people’s behavior. Okay? So, we’re going to get into it a lot more in this month, but in this video right now, I’m just talking about manuals. All right?
So, when we’re talking about manuals, we have manuals for everybody in our life. We have manuals for our parents, we have manuals for our children, for children in general. We have manuals for our partner for our friends, how they should behave?
And so, it’s really important because we don’t even realize that we have this set of expectations for how these other people should be acting in the world, how they should be treating us. And so, what happens then is we become disappointed in other people because they’re not living up to their side of what we expect them to do.
And so when I find that I have emotions that are triggered by manuals. So, those emotions are like your attention, disappointment, sometimes sadness. So, when we have a frustration, like when we have feelings, and I do a thought download.
Then, I noticed that I have all of these rules for how those other people should be acting and they’re not living up to it, then I’m like, “oh, okay so I’m expecting that they’re doing something and they’re not doing it.” Okay, I can let go of that feeling. Now, I’ve been doing this for a while, it may be difficult for you to get to that point. But I want to just share that with you from the get-go.
So, an example of a manual might be, let’s say, that I asked my partner to take out the garbage and my partner doesn’t do it. So, the problem with manuals is that we then make that request. And the fact that they didn’t do it, mean something about us or something about them. Okay?
So, this sign right here, they are facts. They did not take out the garbage and they should have because I asked them to. That is the fact, and the drama is everything else around it. Okay? So, again, the fact is I asked them to take out the garbage. They did not take out the garbage. And so, the drama is they should have. And what I’m making it mean about me? So, I might make that mean that they don’t love me, that I’m not important, that my needs aren’t important to them.
There are a whole host of different stories that I can make up in my brain about why my partner didn’t take out the garbage. I could also make it mean something about my partner, that my partner is lazy, that they don’t care about me, all of these judgment things.
Now, here’s the thing about manuals is manuals only create division in our relationships. And they prevent us from what we really want, which is closeness, belonging, and unconditional love. Now, not all manuals or not all expectations are bad. So, in the partner example, I may have an expectation that my partner does not have sexual relationships with other people. Okay?
And so, I get to decide, do I want to keep that expectation or not? Some of the expectations we made decide are really just trying to micro control other people. And we can’t do that. Okay. We can’t force someone to behave in a certain way. And if we do, what does that mean for their happiness? Right?
Ultimately, we just want everyone we love to be happy. And so, manuals get in the way of that. All right? I have an amazing workbook down below. It’s a seven day workbook that you can do on anyone that you want. And what it does is it just points out the fact that many of the judgements that we have on other people are judgments that we have in ourselves.
And when other people don’t live up to, our expectations, we judge them, and how that just breaks down? You do not have to do this workbook this week, be aware that it’s there. And when you start to notice that you are really judging someone in your life, then you can go to this workbook and take it out. Do the seven days on them. It’s just such a good worksheet.
Oh, there’s just one other thing that I want to mention. And that is when you hear the word, “should.” That gives you a really strong indication that you have a manual going on for something or someone in your life. All right?
So, that’s all I have for you right now. I’ll see you in the next video.