Ep. #5 ManualsToday I explain what a Manual is. Yes, it's like an instruction manual for other people. The catch is that we believe the person needs to behave a certain way so WE can be happy. In the end, humans have free will. They may not always do what you want. Husbands do not take out the trash, anyone? But worse is when we allow our feelings to be controlled by others' actions, we give away all of our power. Coaching teaches us that we always choose to decide how we think and feel.
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Show Notes and Time Stamps
Today I explain what a Manual is. Yes, it's like an instruction manual for other people. The catch is that we believe the person needs to behave a certain way so WE can be happy. In the end, humans have free will. They may not always do what you want. Husbands do not take out the trash, anyone? But worse is when we allow our feelings to be controlled by others' actions, we give away all of our power. Coaching teaches us that we always choose to decide how we think and feel.
(02:17) Definintion of a manual
(03:20) We don’t tell people about our manual for them
(04:00) Manuals can be damaging
(04:28) Humans have free will
(06:33) We believe we will be happier if the people in our lives change
(08:15) Manual exceptions
(09:46) Common Manuals for friends, husbands and ourselves
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You are listening to the Beat Physician Burnout Podcast Episode #5.
You are listening to the Beat Physician Burnout Podcast Episode #5
I'm going to talk about manuals today, yes, you heard me right, like an instruction manual for your TV or car. I know this is kind of an unusual topic, but it leads into a podcast that I've been getting a lot of questions about. People are confused about how to ask a for a request versus setting boundaries. You need to understand manuals before we can talk about those next time.
A manual is an instruction guide we have for someone in our life (or everyone) on how we would like THEM to behave so WE can feel good and be happy.
There are three parts to a manual:
- The SOMEONE often includes our partners, husbands or wives, friends, children, family, patients, and even strangers.
- The directions, guides, or rules of how we would like THEM to behave.
- So that WE can be happy, good, relaxed, comfortable, or whatever feeling we are looking for.
Don't worry; there is no blame here. It's normal, and we all have manuals. However, we THINK they are necessary, and I'm going to question that belief.
Strangely enough, we usually don't even tell the other person what's in our manual for them. We somehow just expect them to read our minds. We feel like the other person should just "know" what to do and how to treat us. We may not even realize we have the manual. Manuals can be brief and straightforward. Manuals can be pages and pages long. We think our manual is necessary; we don't see the pain it causes us. We feel like we are justified in having these expectations of other people.
But as I will show you, it is precarious and can even be damaging when your emotional happiness is directly tied to someone else's behavior. Especially when they don't behave the way you think they "should."
Here's the deal. Humans. Have. Free. Will. They don't follow your manual. They don't like being told what to do. They don't listen. They get upset. They don't want to be told what to do. They don't want to be told how to be. If you try to do many of these things, you may create resentment, and they may distance themselves from you. Even if you had your manual written down, I guarantee you that your partner is not studying it.
Let's do an example. Let's say we have a manual about our husband that he should always drive the speed limit when the children are in the car. So first of all, even look at the word "should." Manuals tend to be very judgemental. But in your mind, it's justified because you don't' want to worry that they are safe. You want to have a good day and don't want to spend it all worrying about them. So for YOU to have a good day, HE has to drive the speed limit. Maybe you think that's just common courtesy or common sense.
Here's another example. Maybe you feel that your best friend should call you on your birthday. You think that that's what best friends do. Your birthday is important to you. It only comes around once a year. Is it too much to ask? You always call her on her birthday. Most likely, the instruction is invisible, and you have never actually told her about it. But the point is that someone else has to take action for you to be happy. When she follows the manual and calls you, you are so glad.
Now everyone will have manuals as long as you are alive. All humans have manuals. But in the end, even if you typed up your manual, posted it on the wall, or put it on the home screen of their iPhone, most people are going to do what they want to do anyway.
It's a common belief to think that you will be happier if someone in your life changes. By believing this, you are handing over emotional power to someone else. BUT in coaching, I teach you that you have the choice to think and feel anyway you want about other people's behavior. We know that other's people's behavior has absolutely no impact on us emotionally until we think about it, interpret it, and choose to make it mean something. No matter what people do, how they act, or what they say, we don't have to give others the power to determine how we feel.
Once you know that you 100% determine what you need, you can start making requests and boundaries from a clean place. You are not needy or dependent on anyone else's actions to make you happy. We're going to talk about requests and boundaries next time.
Unfortunately, what happens is we make the other person's actions regarding the manual mean something about us and the relationship. When they follow the manual, it means they care about us or love us. What if your manual includes that your partner should tell you they love you and kiss you every time you part. At times, your partner may do this, and that gives you positive thoughts and feelings. However, they won't be able to do all of the things you want all of the time, and they may not want to. Coaching teaches you to create your thoughts and feelings of happiness regarding a relationship, not dependent on another's actions. Now, of course, this does not mean that you should stay in relationships that are harmful or not serving you well. You still need to protect yourself and always get to decide where and who you spend your time with.
I should point out that manuals don't apply to employees or children. When you are a boss, you are allowed to have work expectations of your employees. The key difference here is that the employees are paid, and there is no emotional component. Also, when you are a parent, you can set expectations, chores, or rules for your children. So you may tell your child that there is an expectation that she makes her bed every day. If she doesn't do this, there will be a consequence. Maybe this is a habit you think is essential to teach your child. But you do not want to make the consequence emotional. You wouldn't say, "if you don't make your bed it's going to hurt Mommy's feelings and I'll be very sad." This is not a healthy consequence and can lead children to believe they are responsible for your feelings.
This concept might be mind-altering at first if you have lived your whole life giving your power away. It may be challenging to realize this is voluntarily and unnecessarily.
I will give you a few examples of standard manuals and then list the rest in the show notes because it feels strange to read these lists. You will know you have manuals for someone if you're saying a lot of "shoulds," "should nots," have a lot of expectations, a lot of conditions.
Common Manual Instructions
■ She should call me back when I call her.
■ She should remember my birthday.
■ She should invite me when she has a party.
■ She should write me a thank you note.
■ She should be kind and understand when I am frustrated.
■ She should support me.
■ She should listen to me for as long as I listened to her.
■ She should come to the hospital when my father is dying.
■ She should ask me to be a bridesmaid, godmother, etc.
■ He should tell me he loves me.
■ He should buy me something special on my birthday.
■ He should know what I like.
■ He should be emotionally available.
■ He should want to go to the movies I like.
■ He should make more money.
■ He should spend less time at work.
■ He should spend more time with the kids.
■ He shouldn't watch so much football.
■ He should take out the garbage without having to be asked.
■ A good mother should want to spend all my time with my kids.
■ A good daughter should call my mother more.
■ A good partner should take an extra admit
■ A good employee should work the hardest every day.
■ A good person should always be nice.
■ A good parent should never yell at their kids.
■ A good person should be able to do it all.
■ I should be happy.
Next time we are going to talk about making a request vs setting a boundy. If you have a topic that you want to know more about please let me know at [email protected] I’ll talk to you soon. Goodbye