Ep. 16: How to Improve Any Relationship

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

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 simply 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 or professional.

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

Once you truly understand this, your relationships will never be the same – they will be so much better in every way.

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.

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 they show the other person this?” 

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

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

But this is also true in any relationship: we are responsible for meeting our own needs.

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

Today, I invite you to lean in to the process of letting go of your manual, of 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?

Real talk? 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 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 control 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 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.

// Check out Episode 74, How to Set Healthy Boundaries

// If you want more of this Jedi juice, grab the free Rebel Buddhist Training Kit and get insider access to join the free private group where important conversations are happening in a safe place. There’s a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, and it’s a place where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.

// Enrollment is currently closed for Freedom School, my one-of-a-kind membership program that helps you free your mind and free your life. If you want to be the first to know when enrollment opens, click here to get on the waitlist.