It’s interesting how the three situations I am thinking of are completely different, yet the underlying issue is basically the same. In all three cases, Jill, Jason, and Janet are hinging their happiness and sense of self on the actions (or lack of actions) of someone else. Each of them would be much happier and more satisfied if that significant person in their life would just behave according to their wishes.
Case 2: My client (let’s call him Jason) is frustrated to the point of insanity because his wife has no sex drive. His wife has a problem with depression and alcohol and needs to be treated for that. She needs the time and space to really deal with her challenges. Jason understands this on an intellectual level but cannot deal with it emotionally. He keeps wanting her to show physical signs of affection lives with constant disappointment when the hugs are not warm enough or the kisses are passive. The rejection and loneliness are killing him – he often talks about being so upset that he wants to cry.
Case 3: My client (let’s call her Janet)is a senior executive for a major retail brand and is constantly agitated over the arrogance and stupidity of her boss – the president of the company. He tells her that she has poor communication skills yet he is the one who always misses meetings and blows off her concerns. She wants him to acknowledge her contribution to the success of the company but he never does. She wants him to say that she is doing an amazing job and to admit that without her, the brand would be a mess – but he doesn’t give an inch. While she loves her job and is excellent at it, she is considering switching to another company.
1. It’s not about you. That other person is behaving the way they are behaving because of their own ‘stuff’. Don’t take it on. Don’t own it and don’t make it a reflection of your self-worth.
2. You are responsible for your own happiness, not them. As long as your happiness is dependent on their actions, your happiness is in someone else’s hands. Start owning that responsibility and release them from the obligation to make you happy.
3. Your happiness is a function of your thinking (not their behavior). The thoughts you have create the beliefs you have which ultimately trigger the emotions you feel about any subject. Use the process of journaling to uncover the thoughts and beliefs you have about this particular relationship. Challenge the beliefs that cause you to feel mad, sad, frustrated or disappointed with the relationship.
4. Stop trying to draw blood from a stone. Stop looking to that person in your life to serve a personal emotional need. First – if they don’t have it to give, stop expecting it and feeling disappointed when it doesn’t come your way. Second, your emotional needs are yours to fill – find other ways to feel good about this particular relationship in your life. For example, Janet’s boss was the one that gave her the senior position in the company – that certainly is a form of endorsement – she needs to understand his actions as ‘his way’ as opposed to seeing them as a direct personal put down.
5. What you focus on grows. When you focus on what isn’t working in a relationship, the relationship breaks down further. However, when you focus on what is good and right about a relationship and acknowledge those elements, the relationship improves. Use your journal to identify what you are focusing on and gently begin to pay more attention to what’s working. Begin to collect evidence of the harmony in the relationship and allow that to hold dominion over the relationship.
Kim Ades, MBA, is President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and JournalEngine™ Software. By using her unique process of coaching through journaling, she works with clients to unveil and switch their thought patterns to ignite significant change and life transformation. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, coach, and mother of 5, Kim shares her own early challenges of growing a coaching business and how she implemented a simple idea into an industry leading company that now coaches hundreds of people each year. Learn more www.frameofmindcoaching.com.