Hi, and welcome to episode six of take control with Whitney Wells. So today we're going to talk about expectations in relationships. And specifically, we're going to talk about the concept called the manual. This is one of my favorite concepts. So I'm so excited to share it with you. This concept changed my relationships. It changed how I am towards others. It changed how I am towards myself and it changed my overall happiness. So I just can't wait to share it with you. And I hope that you can benefit from it as well.
So to start off, think of someone in your life, an adult in your life that you have expectations for. And if they don't meet them, you feel bad. You feel some negative emotion. So think of that person in that relationship. And as we go through this episode, we'll go back to that.
So what we're going to go over in this episode is, we're going to start off with 'what is a manual'. And then we're going to continue on with 'how it is a life changing concept', and then 'why manuals cause suffering'. And lastly, 'what to do with your manuals'.
So to start off, what is a manual? A manual is an instruction manual. Expectations that you have for someone else with your feelings attached. So whether they behave or act in a certain way that you expect, you have a negative feeling, if they don't do that, that is a manual. When you sign up for these manuals, you're signing up for, if they do or don't do that thing, you feel a certain way. You feel bad or good, if they do that thing.
Now, we aren't talking about expectations for kids or expectations for employees. Those aren't the manuals that we're talking about. Those expectations for kids and employees are great. You know, we want to teach kids to do things and we want employees to act in certain ways for the business to go a certain way. So as long as your feelings aren't attached to whether they do or don't do that thing, those types of expectations are good. When we do have our feelings attached to whether a kid, let's say, brushes their teeth or puts their toys, this could slip into emotional manipulation. Which it looks like: "I'm sad because you didn't brush her teeth", or "I'm sad because you didn't put your toys away," or "I'm sad because you (as my employee), didn't show up on time". So those aren't the manuals that we're talking about. We're talking about manuals for adults.
I love this concept because I can relate to it so much. As you know, I'm a control enthusiast. So I had manuals for lots of people in my life without even knowing it. Now, here's some examples of manuals: thinking someone 'should help out more around the house or with the kids or with money'. Thinking that someone 'should be more loving or show more affection'. Thinking someone 'should act or behave in certain ways'. These are all examples of a manual that you may have for somebody. A manual is basically trying to control someone else in order to feel a certain way. So you have these expectations, you're trying to control that person to meet those expectations so that you can feel a feeling. So let's look back at those examples, 'thinking someone should help out more with the house or kids or money'. And if they don't do those things, you feel frustrated or disappointed or some negative emotion because they didn't do those things. Thinking someone 'should be more loving or show more affection'. And if they don't, you feel hurt. Thinking someone 'should act or behave in certain ways'. And if they don't behave or act in the ways that you want, you feel powerless. So signing up for this manual that you have, you're giving them the power over your feelings.
Now, a lot of the time, the other person doesn't even know that you have these expectations for them. So you have these set of rules, this manual for them, and they don't even know they exist. So while, sometimes we don't even know that we have them, they don't either, right? Once you become aware of these manuals, that's when you can be in control. That's when you can take your power back because you can see it.
So think of the manual that you have for that other person that we talked about earlier. Think of all the 'shoulds' and the 'shouldn'ts' that you have for them. Think of all the ways that you think that they should behave. Think of all the expectations that you have for them. Now you are aware. Now you can see the manual that you have for that person. This is the first step, and it's a really big one. Seeing it gives you that power.
So how is the manual a life-changing concept? Being aware of your manual can change the dynamic of all your relationships. When you can see the manuals that you have for other people, the expectations that you have with your feelings attached, that's when you can make some change. It's such a huge first step, being aware, puts you in control over yourself. And so you can take your power back rather than relying on someone else to do something or behave in a certain way. You can feel that feeling anyway. So it doesn't matter what they do or don't do. You can still feel that feeling. You're not giving them the control over how you feel.
Letting go of your manuals, gives the other person room to be who they are by not trying to control them. This is so life changing to any relationship you can apply it to. When you can let go of the control over that person, they can be themselves. They can be authentic. So think of that relationship and that manual that you have for that other person.
We talked about having awareness for that manual. We talked about having awareness over those expectations that you have. Now own those thoughts. Own those expectations. Own those 'shoulds', and 'shouldn'ts' that you have for that person. You don't have to rely on that other person to feel a certain way when you own that you're causing that feeling. That sentence of 'that person should be more loving or more affectionate'. Thinking, 'someone should help out more with the house or the kids or the money'. Thinking 'someone should act or behave in certain ways'. Those sentences are causing your feelings. So owning that, gives you back your power, and then being able to have that authentic relationship with that person by letting go of that manual that you have for them.
So you might be thinking that you want to hold onto your manuals. You might feel justified to keep them. And trust me, I completely get this. I totally get it, but let's look at why manuals don't work and what you're actually creating for yourself when you do hold onto those manuals.
Controlling other people is impossible. Controlling somebody else is impossible. It just doesn't work. We can try and we can try and we can try and do it, and really all it causes is our suffering. No one can win with a manual. He or she can't live up to all of your expectations, usually. And you don't have your expectations met. So that person isn't meeting them and you don't get them met. So no one feels good, right? You don't feel good because your expectations aren't met and that person doesn't feel good because they're actually being controlled by you or you're trying to control them, which never feels good. And you're at the mercy of whether he or she acts or behaves in a certain way. So you have no power. You feel powerless because you're giving them all the control over your feelings. So a manual is trying to control others and in the process of trying to do so, you give them all the control over your feelings. A manual doesn't work. It creates a powerless feeling.
So take the manual you have for the person in your life and ask yourself, "is it working to control them? How does it feel to have these expectations for them to try and control them? Are all of your expectations being met? Are you hanging on every action they take in hopes that they do what you want in order for you to feel a certain way?" So are you just hanging on those, whether he or she does or doesn't do the thing, waiting for him or her to act a certain way, or will he, or will he not act in that way?
What now let's take back that control. What do you do with your manuals? See your manuals. Be aware of your manuals. Notice what expectations you have for that other person. Being aware, as I mentioned, is such a big first step. Knowing, gives you all your control back. It's like they say, knowledge is power. Once you can see them, that's when you can take the action to change them. Notice where you are putting your power. Notice what you are creating for yourself. Owning those 'shoulds' and those 'shouldn'ts' that you have for that person. Owning those expectations that you were putting on them. And notice that you're creating your feeling by thinking that they should or shouldn't behave a certain way. Taking back that power and then drop your manual. Drop it and stop trying to control the other person. Now, if you wanted to hang on to your manuals, of course, that's an option, but notice what you're creating for yourself when you do, you're giving them the power over your feelings. So I suggest dropping that manual.
Turn that control inwards on your own thoughts. Whether that person behaves a certain way or doesn't, cannot make you feel a certain way. It's your thoughts about it. So turn that control inward on your thoughts. How do you want to feel? Think intentionally. And then lastly, meet your own needs. This is so much fun. Meeting your own needs is so much fun. You don't have to rely on somebody else to meet your needs. You can do it for yourself. Take back that control. Take back that control with your thoughts, with your feelings and with your actions. Create the results that you want for yourself. Empower yourself.
Thank you so much for listening. I love this concept of the manual. I hope you apply it to your life. Notice what manuals you have for other people. Notice what expectations you have and then see what you want to do with those manuals. Have a great day, and I'll see you next time. Thank you.