The Manual part 2: Other People’s Rule Book for Us

Jan 22, 2021

In last week’s blog, I discussed the concept of The Manual , our rule book for how other people should behave, and how having a Manual makes our feelings dependent on the actions of others.

Today I want to consider the opposite: that every person in our life has a Manual for us: how we should act, how we should grieve, what we should and should not say.  That we should be further along in our journey, or that we have launched impulsively and foolishly into our next chapter. We should cry more or cry less. We should have it together by now or we have it too together, therefore we must not have loved him enough.

Given that everyone has a different Manual for us, it would be impossible to follow them all. You probably don’t even try to. But consider which Manuals you do try your best to follow.

Attempting to follow other people’s Manuals is a form of people pleasing, which is an attempt to control them with the very best of intentions. If we follow their Manual, we believe that we are helping them to feel better, to worry about us less, to rest assured that we are okay. We think that our actions can directly control other people’s feelings.

Which is just not true.

No matter our actions, other people get to think whatever they choose to think, which creates their feelings, which prompt their actions.

We can lose weight and one person will think we’re too thin, while another will think we are looking healthier. We can go out on a date and for every person who thinks that it’s a good idea, there will be another who thinks it’s too soon. We can break down in tears and one person will think we should be “over it” by now and another will think that we should cry more often.

We can live our lives trying to follow lengthy and conflicting Manuals, or we can live our lives for ourselves.

We can decide what’s good for us and then have our own backs.

We can recognize that we have absolutely no control over other people’s feelings.

We can decide that we’re not responsible for how much or little other people worry about us.

We can stop seeking approval and acceptance from outside of ourselves.

Because feelings come from thoughts, how we feel is an inside job. And how other people feel is their own inside job.

We learned from parents and teachers to seek approval from others, but now we’re adults. We may have received acceptance and approval from our husbands, but now we’re widowed. We have perhaps spent our lives “outsourcing” our feelings, but now it’s time to bring it in-house. It has always been an inside job, after all.

If you’re struggling to generate acceptance and approval for yourself, by yourself, my six-month private coaching program called Life Reconstructed can help. If you’re ready to invest in yourself and take bigger strides toward a life you love, simply apply here and we’ll see if it’s a fit.  

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

Click here

Stay connected.

Join the mailing list to receive the latest blog, news and updates.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.