Having a manual for somebody means you have a detailed list of how you think they need to behave in order for you to feel good. Do you have a manual for people you love?
When we have manuals for people, we usually haven’t even told them all the things on our list. And then we expect them to follow it anyway. Then we get upset when they don’t follow it.
Some people do voice their manual. When you do this you can become manipulative and controlling. This is because you think that how they behave will determine how you feel. You can see how this provides incentive to try to control their actions so that you can feel better.
Or you might just feel powerless. This is because, whether you give them permission to or not, people get to behave however they want.
What if the person you have a manual for did do all the things on your list? Would you really be happy about this? Would it be okay if they do it begrudgingly? Or would they have to want to do it all willingly and happily?
Remember, we do things because of how we think it will make us feel. When we have a manual, we give away the power to manage our feelings. We make other people responsible for making us feel good.
But the truth is, that is your responsibility. And this is really good news because that means you have the power to manage your own emotions.
What if you drop your manual for the person you love? How would you show up differently?
If we drop our manual it is so freeing. Then there is not a list that that person needs to abide by for us to feel good. We don’t feel the need to control their behavior because we can feel okay regardless of their actions. We can create feelings for ourselves using intentional thinking.
There is no right or wrong here. But it is worth asking yourself if you have a manual. Then you get to decide if you like how you show up in your relationship with your manual. You get to be aware and intentional about it.
Employees and kids are exceptions to this. We need to have prescribed expectations in these situations. However, whether we believe we need them to follow that list in order for us to feel good is what we want to look at it.
Give away responsibility for your emotions and feel powerless. Or take responsibility of your feelings regardless of other people’s choices/behavior. You get to choose.
Learn more about Danny Poelman Coaching.