Can You Please Change So That I Can Feel Better?

Consider the title of this post.

Do you ever have that thought?

Yeah, my clients and I do too.

Jen thinks her husband should clean up after himself because he knows a clean house is important to her. Erin needs her kids to stop fighting so she can feel calm. Kate thinks that if her boss would just give her meaningful feedback and more autonomy, Kate can feel appreciated, purposeful, and productive.

There's nothing wrong with asking significant others, family members, and bosses to do things, but they don't always comply. Then what do we do?

We get to take responsibility for our own happiness. If I need my kids to keep quiet so that I can be calm, I am making them responsible for my emotional state. It's now their responsibility to keep me calm. I have handed over the management of my own emotions. It's not their job and if I leave it up to them, I will be riding an emotional roller coaster.

Not to mention that it is exhausting making sure everyone behaves so that I can feel good.

What really needs to change? Our thinking. I know, it may not sound fair. Maybe it isn't. Perhaps everyone really should follow the rules in our mental manuals. But they don't.

Changing our thinking is the way to feel better. It's also empowering. Instead of thinking, "You need to change so I can feel better," try "I need to change so I can feel better."

What do you need to think to feel the way you want?

Jen may consider that her husband's lack of cleanliness has nothing to do with how much he loves her. She might think "I choose to clean because it's important to me" (Or she can hire a cleaning lady). Erin reminds herself that her kids are being kids perfectly. She is going to try this thought: "I can be calm so my kids can stop fighting." Kate may not be able to choose her projects, but she can choose her thoughts. Her boss's thoughts are his business, but Kate can be kind to herself by thinking, "I am capable, valuable, and meeting my own goals."

When we take over as CEO of our own thinking, a funny little thing happens.  The people around us start behaving so much better...even though we don't need them to.

"When you think that someone or something other than yourself needs to change, you're mentally out of your business." -Byron Katie

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