My husband and I spent such a fun weekend in Vegas, watching some football, seeing old friends etc.. We are just enjoying our time together so much and it still feels SO surreal! I NEVER could have imagined we would be so happy together.
I can’t even tell you how badly I want that for you!
In today’s letter I’m sharing the NUMBER ONE tool that helped me to turn things around in our relationship, and I hope you find it helpful.
What do you expect of yourself, in order to feel worthy? -Worthy of love, worthy of admiration, worthy of success?
What do you expect your spouse to do, be, or say… in order for you to feel loved?
Most of us have manuals for ourselves that are the size of Texas. Long lists of things we should do, the way we should act or be, in order to have approval, acceptance or love.
Much of our manual comes from the way we are raised; the way we are brought up by our parents. And some of that manual might be good or necessary, – “Don’t kill other people, obey the law, be a good citizen..” They are rules that we learn that help us to live and function together as a healthy society.
BUT, they don’t determine our worth.
Today I want to talk about the mis-use of manuals.
When I was newly married, every single night I would cook an elaborate dinner, because I believed it was what a “good” wife should do. Truth is I don’t really love to cook, but in my mind it was necessary if I wanted my husband to love me. I remember one night, my husband coming home and saying, “You don’t have to make a big dinner every night, I’m totally fine with a frozen burrito!”
But of course I didn’t listen, because a “good” wife always makes a nice dinner! Right?? It was the example my mom set and the message I received. (She was the best! and I wanted to be the best too!)
There were lots of other things I added to my manual for myself like, never say anything if it might hurt someone else’s feelings, always volunteer, never go out in public without looking good… and on and on…!
Not only did I have a manual for myself, but I also had a huge manual for my husband, which of course I never shared with him.
I just expected him to read my mind. Because if he really loved me, he would KNOW what I needed. LOL!
I had expectations that he should always compliment me for how I looked and show appreciation for how hard I worked. He should buy me flowers on Valentine’s Day and make elaborate plans for our Anniversary… It was HIS job to make ME feel loved and special.
Oh boy, imagine my disappointment when he didn’t follow my manual!
And because I had such a lengthy manual for myself, I felt justified in having one for my husband, kids and many others as well.
It felt righteous. It felt fair.
If you’ve ever had the thought:
“He/she should do that if they want to make me happy”….
“She/he should say that, so I feel better”…
“I need her/him to do this, to make me feel wanted or loved…”
YOU HAVE A MANUAL, and it will make you miserable!
Whenever we look to external sources to make us feel a certain way, we are living in Emotional Childhood. Meaning that just like a child, we are looking to someone else to solve our emotional discomfort and make us feel better.
We haven’t learned the tools to manage our emotions ourselves.
When we need someone else’s approval to feel worthy, or valued, we are the ones who sacrifice our emotional health, because if the other person doesn’t perform well(by following our manual), we suffer!
Have you noticed that people don’t like to be told how to do things, how to live their lives and how to act in certain situations? It’s not fun. -And by the way, we don’t either!
When we insist that our partner show us love in one way or another, they often rebel and withhold the thing we want most.
Think about it.
If your kiddo has a birthday and gives you a list of everything you need to buy them in order for them to enjoy their birthday, and then pouts when they don’t get the items on their list, we lose the desire to give to them, -let alone surprise and delight them!
And on the other hand, it’s such a JOY to give to the one who is happy and asks for so little!
If we stop making demands of our partner, and we love and appreciate them exactly as they are.. AND love and show appreciation for the ways THEY want to show us their love, their desire to show us their love grows… they WANT to give us more.
Dropping our manuals is the key to receiving more love!
When we let them go, we can just love other people exactly the way that they are, and we can love ourselves that way too! It’s absolutely freeing.
If this rings true for you, I encourage you to ditch the manual you have for yourself, your spouse…and everyone else you love, and create your own feelings by managing the thoughts YOU CHOOSE to think.
How does your spouse show you love? Give them credit for all they do instead of mourning the things you WISH they would. If you stay focused on what you lack, you will rob yourself of the daily joys that could be yours.
When I dropped the manual for myself, it was much easier to drop it for others as well. It gave me the freedom to show up in life as the authentic version of me, and that made all the difference!
It’s such a joyful way to live.
If you need help letting it go, reach out to me. Let’s get you on the fast track a happier future!