One Major Way You’re Sabotaging Your Relationships – and How to Stop

Let me just start out by stating the obvious: relationships are hard. Anyone who says, “Oh, but they don’t have to be,” has either never been in a passionate one, or is full of sh*t.

It totally makes sense that they’re hard.

We take two mammals with sub-optimal communication skills (aka “language”) and some serious evolutionary biology along with a high likelihood of experiences of trauma with people they’ve trusted, and stick them together.

Then we expect them to go against everything their evolutionary brain has learned about being safe and avoiding discomfort or difficulty so they can experience some sense of…connection and love…and geez, it’s no wonder we can get into it with our significant other.

So let’s just remember: There’s nothing wrong with your relationship just because it’s hard.

However, what’s is wrong with most relationships is that we don’t let the other person be who they are.

We have a Manual for them. We have a long list – conscious or not – of how we think they should behave. How they should treat us when we come home from work. How they should react when we cry. What they should give us for our birthday. What kind of father or mother they should be. How they should smell (or not smell). How much sex we will have with them and what that sex is like. How much money they should spend and on what kinds of things.

“Oh Ana, but I am an exception. I don’t have a Manual for my partner!”

People who say this usually do so because thus far, their partner is following their Manual.

We usually don’t know we have one until it’s not being followed.

If you think you don’t have a Manual, just imagine your partner coming home and not doing everything you like them doing. If they normally cook you dinner, imagine them stopping. If they normally plan fun adventures with you, imagine them becoming a couch potato. If you normally have sex three or four times a week, imagine it dropping to once a season. If they usually end texts with the heart emoticon, imagine them changing it to goats and chickens. If they are always on time, imagine them being late. Always. By a lot.

You might be wondering why Manuals are even a problem. Don’t they just help us get our needs met?


That’s another misconception about Manuals. They aren’t filled with objective “rules” that are legit. They are filled with expectations we have to protect us from feeling bad.

Requests are what help us get our needs met.

Manuals create suffering when we believe they should be followed in order for us to be happy.

Requesting that your partner not be late helps you get your needs met.

Getting pissed when they are always late because in your Manual they are supposed to be on time makes you unhappy. Again, you are not unhappy because they are late. You are unhappy because you expected them to be on time.

(I know. Crazy. We’ll do a call on this soon, because I know some of y’all are like WTF???!!!)

The other reason Manuals create problems is because people evolve. Well, at least people change (Freedom Junkies evolve;). When people change, the Manual doesn’t allow them to act differently. This rocks the boat, even if there isn’t anything fundamentally “wrong” with the change itself. I see this all the time in my coaching clients. They evolve. They start doing things differently. They are no longer following their partners’ manual.

Boom! Shit explodes.

When we decide to love someone, we need to also decide to let them be them. It’s really the mature thing to do, and the way a true Freedom Junkie walks their talk. The most freeing thing we can offer another human being is to let them be them and love them for it.

This does not mean you don’t make requests. It just means you don’t let yourself get all victimized and bent out of shape when the other person doesn’t fulfill them.

Some people ask me, “But don’t I have a right to have certain needs?” Girlfriend, yes. But you don’t have a right to make other people meet them. Ultimately, meeting your needs is up to you.

Plus, when you make your happiness depend on another person’s actions, you are giving all you power away. To them! To something you have NO control over! We don’t ever have control of other people, no matter how much we’d like to believe differently.

Trust me. I’ve been through this debate. I wish my husband was home more instead of up in the sky with his paraglider waaaay out of cell phone range in another time zone all the time, and I feel more than entitled to bitch about it. I wish my mother didn’t criticize me so much when I called her on the phone. I wish so many people who did things that I thought were f*cked up would just stop because “most people” would agree that I was right.

Well, “most people” aren’t who you chose to be your person to walk this life with right now.

If you are choosing to be with someone, then let them be them. Make your requests. They will either honor them or not. They get to be them – another adult, just like you, being them.

Choose to stay or go. But if you choose to stay, let them be who they are. Learn to give yourself what you need so that you aren’t relying on someone else for your happiness.

If you aren’t getting anything out of the relationship and want to go, then by all means go! But know that unless you’ve cleaned up your thoughts about what a partner “should” be doing for you – e.g. if you think they are there to protect you from feeling bad – you will likely repeat these same patterns in the next relationship.

Our relationships aren’t there to protect us from doing hard things, feeling hard feelings, or facing our bullshit.

In my mind, relationships are there to push our edge. To challenge us to grow. To help us evolve and learn how to free our minds so we can love wholeheartedly. Ultimately, this extends to all our relationships – friends, parents, siblings, colleagues…all the silly humans.

Chuck the Manuals.

It will actually free you up to love so much more deeply and freely.

And don’t worry – you will still be OK. If you’re doubting it, then we’ve got some work to do together on building up your self confidence – your ziji – so that you believe you are 100% capable of taking care of your emotional needs. Then, the other people in your life? They become people who are there to make life even more juicy.

Instead of your emotional caretakers, they become the cream cheese icing on that gluten-free Freedom Junkie cake of yours.



Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

Days 190 to 199 Full On Hormonal Plus An Embarrassing Story

this is us with the cabin behind…after I realized i was being silly;)

Arrrgh!!!! I am going to share an embarrassing story.

To make the history of this embarrassing story short, I’ll let you know in brief that my partner and I are madly in love, I am utterly at peace and feel safe with him, we have crazy adventures, laugh hysterically, meditate, do yoga together, build things, communicate like adults with respect and depth, and are uber-committed. And it took 12 years for us to finally be together. This means that in those 12 years, he dated other people. And so did I. But the important thing is that he did;) At least for this story.

When you don’t marry your high school sweetheart, you have to realize they have done lots of cool shit with lots of other women that, and yes, this is redundant – weren’t you. At least if they’re a cool guy.

For those of you following my posts, you know that in only the past 10 months, my man and I have been to something like 7 countries and 12 states. So, imagine if you will, what he did with OTHER women during 12 years. Holy shit, right?

Many times each day, I hear a story about an adventure he’s had. I stopped asking with whom because I noticed that when it was with an ex of his, this totally irrational jealousy rose up. Not towards whatever ex it was per se, but more like a sadness that we didn’t get to share it together. Then I feel this kind of shittiness that sucks. I suppose there probably isn’t a type of shittiness that doesn’t suck, but that’s beside the point. It’s a shittiness about feeling shitty about it in the first place. And a shittiness wondering why it wasn’t me.

There are VERY logical answers to why it wasn’t me. I’ll spare you the many details, but one was because, oh…I was married. But anyway, I could have been married to HIM right?! I know. It’s dumb. But bear with me.

So, we are in the Alaskan backcountry, and he has been in the Alaskan backcountry with his girlfriends who didn’t even live in the freakin’ US like – everywhere you can see when you stand around and look at Alaska. Seriously. Like even little teeny islands in Alaska, in the middle of nowhere. He gets shit done and gets his women out there.

this is the bridge!

We arrived at a cabin very special to him. And no, I wasn’t the first girlfriend there. But whatever. I let go of it. Then he says, “I’ve never crossed that cable bridge. Let’s do it later.” And I’m like, “Holy shit! Something he hasn’t done! With ANYONE else! Yay yay yay!

I am disproportionately excited for this cable crossing.

So another friend arrives and he says he is going to orient him to the area and make sure the cable bridge is up. I go and read a book about finding your true destiny.

I read a long fucking time. Like an hour.

I go to see what’s up and guess what? He crossed the fucking bridge with our friend to see if it was worth it! They decided it was.

I was livid. Inside. I even did a Seinfeld’s Elaine, “Get out!” kind of shove. Then he says he’s sorry, that he’s still doing it with me the first time and I’m like, “NO YOU’RE NOT! THAT’S THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ POINT!”

And to boot – the other side? A fucking waterfall with a rope swing. No shit (photo above). We could have discovered it together and he could have pushed me on it as we gasped in awe when we stumbled upon it and my hair would wave in the breeze and I cold swim in the waters all Paradise Found-like. But no. He saw it with Scott.

Rather anticlimactic when you’ve freakin’ already seen it!!!!

Poor guy. He couldn’t have known that crossing that bridge meant more to me than just crossing that bridge. He couldn’t have known that I felt like something was taken from me.

I say things like, “I hear all day where you went with so and so, and how cool your trip with so and so was, and how epically beautiful that place was you went to with so and so, and everywhere we go you’ve been with some so and so or another and I just wanted one freakin’ thing to do with you that you hadn’t done before! Is that too much to ask?” LOL the problem is I never asked;) Plus I forgot we went to West Africa last year together.

WTF, right?! I then wonder why I am so deeply affected by this. I almost want to cry! I know it’s insane to have this reaction. But I let myself feel it, and I go to hole myself away in the cabin, taking deep breaths, until I feel it move through me and have its completion.

I got my period the next day, so now of course it makes perfect sense, but in the moment, I thought I was really losing my shit.

Now that I have a little more of a “realistic” perspective I can ask myself, “Ana, dear, what the hell was that?” Hormonal or not, there was a seed of something there.

What it is, dear Ana, is that I forgot everything happens for a reason. I forgot to surrender to the all-knowing perfection that is greater than myself.

Then I remind myself that he had all those other relationships so he could show up for me the man he is now. All those truly amazing women helped him grow into the absolutely incredible man he is now, and for that I am eternally grateful. And I got to be his friend through all those growing pains, being there for him as a friend, but not being hurt. And now we are together. And he didn’t think I was crazy after all that cable bridge nonsense. He never raised his voice or told me I was being hormonal or that I was being ridiculous. He just held me and said how much he loved me and that we are going to have many adventures together, including making a family.

I know…he’s awesome, right?!

The point is, when I focus on the present, when I take in ONLY what is happening now and not making up stories about the past or fears about the future, it is all perfect.

So will ya do me a favor? When you start getting distracted from the blessings and the perfection and happiness that is right in front of you, in the now – your partner asleep next to you, the sound of rain gently falling on your roof, the way your dog greets you at the door, the way your cat warms your lap, the way your mom or dad are still around to say “I love you” – when you get distracted from that because you’re trying to make sense of the past, or prevent shit from hitting the fan in the future, will you PLEASE just cut it out and enjoy your life? Just for those few present moments? It would make me so happy. And you too.

Can I Trust You?

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
~ Spencer Johnson

The ability to trust in all our relationships – not just intimate ones – allows us to take the risks necessary to grow. In addition, knowing how we decide someone is trustworthy is ultimately not so important for “protecting” ourselves, but rather, in a Ziji Up! kind of way, to also know:

Are YOU the type of person people can trust?

This often is about living with integrity.

People want to know where you stand, what you value, and if you act accordingly. It isn’t so much even WHAT those specific values are, or even about always knowing what is “right” or “wrong” (which, by the way, is often a futile effort).

Rather, whether someone trusts you or not is more about if YOU know what you value, if that somehow includes consideration of others, if you act consistently in the things that matter, and if you’re honest with yourself and others.

That is what builds trust.

For example, in romantic partnerships, trust isn’t only about fidelity, even though that is the way it is often used. In reality, whether or not your partner can trust you is also about wanting to know if you’ll consistently show up fully and authentically in the relationship in the context of the values you share:

*Can I trust that you’ll be home on time for dinner as you said you would?

*Can I trust you’ll keep supporting me in pursuing my passions in life?

*Can I trust you to bring home your share of the money to pay our bills?

*Can I trust that you’ll not spend us into debt?

*Can I trust that you’ll watch the kids the way I do?

*Can I trust that you’ll do the laundry and not ruin my shirts?

*Can I trust that you’ll be open to making love with me tonight?

*Can I trust that you’ll be honest with me?

It is about knowing, “Can I count on you?”

The greatest benefit to living with integrity is that ultimately this leads to you having more trust in YOURSELF.

And when you have more trust in yourself, your Ziji grows, you are more confident. You are proud of who you are and how you are in the world.

Then you will take more important risks. And you will stretch. And grow. And live full-on.

Take the rest of this month to observe how consistent you are in your actions. When you find an inconsistency, what can you learn from that?

Is it harder to stay consistent when you’re worrying about what others might think?
When you’re feeling insecure?
When you’re worried about disappointing someone?
When you feel you might not be liked by someone anymore?
When it is inconvenient?

One of my favorite poems about “showing up” is The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (I know…woo woo name but awesome poem). I invite you to partake:

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes, without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,”Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live, or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.