Ep. 159: Greatest Hits Vo. 13 – How to Improve Any Relationship

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Hey hey, rebels! Guess what I’m doing right now? I’m spending some time with my husband at a remote cabin as we celebrate our tenth anniversary. Can you believe that? Time flies, right? 

Second, I’ll be hosting some seriously amazing people for the second 2023 Adventure Mastermind retreat. I am so stoked for both of these. Romance, adventure, wilderness – ALL good thangs. 


So while I’m hosting and enjoying some time away with such amazing people, I’m sending this valuable replay your way: How to Improve Any Relationship.  


I’m pretty sure if I had not implemented all the things I talk about in this episode, I wouldn’t be celebrating an anniversary at all. Plus, these tips work for ALL relationships.  


Have you ever noticed that we think we need to control the world, and that – somewhere in the back of our subconscious minds – we believe other people need to behave a certain way so we can feel good, or be comfortable? 


We have so many rules for our relationships that we’ve stopped experiencing them and are locked into the expectations of how the relationship SHOULD be, instead. 


The secret is this: your relationship with anyone is dependent on your thoughts about them. That means that, in reality, our relationships are primarily made up of our thoughts about another person. 


The big kicker here? Your thoughts about them are dependent on your expectations of them and how well they meet those expectations. 


Here are a few simple truths: 

You can’t have love for someone – you just have love when you think about them 

You can’t be mad at someone – you have thoughts that make you mad. 

Someone can’t hurt you – you have thoughts that hurt. 

These can be tough pills to swallow. 

That’s why this episode is all about getting to know the other person you are in relationship with – whether that relationship is romantic, platonic, familial, or professional. 

In order to get there, we wade through what our thoughts and expectations actually are – how to recognize them – and why we’re got to eliminate them to truly move towards unconditional love, friendship or respect. 


Once we truly understand this, our relationships will never be the same – and be so much more authentic, because the truth is, while we may not realize it, we all have a manual of expectations that informs how we want others to behave so that we can feel better in the long run.  

It’s like an operation manual… a book of rules and expectations of what is normal, kind and acceptable behavior according to us. In Buddhist terms we can see this ‘manual’ representing our attachment to how we want other people to behave. Our desires that, when not fulfilled, created suffering. 

When we get along with people or love to hang out with them, it’s usually because they are following our manual. We may not even know we have one until someone isn’t following it.  

And here’s the catch: we often don’t realize we’re doing this. 

We forget that, as adults, people – including you – have the freedom to behave how they want. 

Often, relationships morph into two people just following each other’s manuals. This has become a primary focus of modern therapy, and self-help too: “What do you want or need? And what does the other person want or need? And how can we all meet each others’ needs?”  

And then you meet in the middle and end up with no one getting what they really want. Just a ton of compromises.  

Now, I’m not saying relationships don’t take compromise. That’s a given. 

But in any relationship, the truth is that we’re responsible for meeting our own needs. 

We need to remember our happiness comes from within ourselves – not whether or not our partner/friend/employee/boss lives up to our expectations.  

Today, I invite you to lean in to the process of letting go of your manual, setting boundaries, and honoring the responsibility we carry to take care of ourselves.  

Start out by asking yourself: in what ways DO I want to control other people? Why? Where does this come from within myself?  

The reality is that we lose our ziji, we lose our power, in a situation or relationship in which how we feel is dependent on someone else’s behavior.  

Let’s change that.   

Choose to focus your brain in ways that serve you. Choose to invest in your relationships in ways that feel good. Choose to shift your expectations that require others to behave a certain way in order for you to claim your happiness, and stand in your truth. Cause one thing’s for sure – you won’t regret it. 


In This Episode You’ll Learn: 

  • What ‘The Manual’ is – and how to better understand the expectations we carry that dictate how we want others to behave (so that we can feel better) 
  • How to stop trying to control other people – learn instead to manage your mind and your response to how other people behave 
  • Why I believe we are responsible for meeting our own needs in our relationships 
  • Why you’ve got to know what makes you happy to do this work 
  • The two main things that have us compromise more than we need to in relationships 
  • How to stop denying yourself love and compassion when someone doesn’t follow your manual 


// Want to know more about how to create boundaries like a Buddha? Grab this free training on how to set boundaries that actually work – and how to do this from a place of kindness. 

// Episode 74: How to Set Healthy Boundaries 

// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday as I go live with new inspiration and topics.      


// Want something more self-paced with access to weekly group support and getting coached by yours truly? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out. Learn more at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there!      


// Want to join me for the next cohort of the Adventure Mastermind? Visit AdventureMastermind.com to get on the waitlist to be the first to hear about the next dates and locations. If you’ve already done the mastermind, stay tuned for a special alumni retreat. We’ll pick up right where we left off and dive even deeper!