We get manuals when we buy things. Appliances, cars. The manual tells us how things should run and work.

People don’t come with manuals, but we have them in our minds for them anyway. They have the following titles:

The Daugher/Son Manual (volumes for yourself and your children if you have them)

The spouse manual (this one is usually very thick)

The mom/dad manual (there are volumes for your parents and you as a parent)

The friend manual

The boss manual

Random person in line at the grocery store manual

As you can imagine…the list goes on and shelves are full.

These are all the rules you have for all the people you run into in life and all the roles you fill. When these rules get broken (including the ones you break), you feel upset. And you feel entitled to feeling upset because they broke a RULE. But these are all just your rules. That you made up. Or took from someone else who made them up. We think our way of doing things is just logical. We don’t realize we are imposing our manuals on other people.

Also, we don’t exactly meet someone and say, “Hi! So glad to meet you. Let’s be friends, but first I need to make sure you know the rules to your part. As long as you follow along here, that will be so great, and I won’t have to feel uncomfortable or upset. Good?” That would be absurd. But at least it would be honest. Instead we are so often disappointed in people and experiencing negative emotion because they didn’t follow our rules! That we made up and didn’t tell them.

Having manuals for people creates all sorts of pain for us. This pain is avoidable!

Of course it’s fine to clearly share your expectations with those in your lives, but just know that what they decide to do with that information is up to them. It’s actually true what you have heard, we can’t control other people. I know this is sad news, but there IS good news!

We CAN control ourselves and our reactions to how others behave. It’s true. It’s so freeing and calming to know that we can manage our own minds and let other people be who they are. We can actually let our manuals for other people go.

It’s an amazing mind shift to stop trying to control other people and truly focus on managing our own minds. And watch what happens when you don’t try to control the people around you and instead approach . It’s a little bit of magic.