I’ve talked about The Manual before and the gist is that we all have detailed instructions for how we think other people in our lives should act and be and feel. The problem is the people in our lives don’t have copies of these manuals, and even if they did, they wouldn’t follow them because it’s like trying to get a refrigerator to be a microwave. It could probably do a few of the same things, but it’s a refrigerator not a microwave.
Today when I was writing down my manual for someone else, so I could take a look at it, I realized that the main problem in that relationship was my manual for myself in that relationship. Did you know we also have manuals for ourselves? What? Well, of course we would follow our own manuals, right?
If we’ve never really sat down and written out our manuals, we don’t really know what’s in them. I had things in my manual like, “I should be calm all of the time.” “I should want to hang out with everyone who wants to hang out with me.” “I should never disappoint my husband.”
Obviously, those instructions aren’t helpful, realistic, or even healthy. What’s in your manual? Write down 10 things right now. Then for each one ask yourself how it makes you feel. Is it useful?