Did you partner cheat? Does your sibling not make as much effort as you’d like? Do you friends not make plans with you enough? Is your parent not as loving as you’d like them to be?
When it comes to our relationships – we think we know EXACTLY how it should be.
We know exactly how they should act, when they should want to propose, how often they should make time for us, what their tone of voice or behaviours should be. We know for sure they shouldn’t ever hurt us, lie to us, or cheat on us – or be anything but how we expect them to be, right?
And these expectations seem so innocent.
We only want them to behave this way because it’s the ‘right’ way to behave. We just want the world to be a good, kind, perfect place where everyone behaves ‘correctly’.
But the issue is – we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world filled with messy humans.
Messy humans that lie. Messy humans that go behind our backs. Messy humans that speak badly to each other. And messy humans that have very different ideas to what the correct way to behave is.
So what do we do with that?
Do we go through life mad at the humans? Mad at the world?
Mad at the friend that lied to us. Mad at the ex that cheated. Mad at the parent that left when we were young, or who let us down in some way.
How do we feel and how do we show up in our world when we do that?
When we decide that something in our past, (or something in our present that’s outside of our control), should have been different, all we do is cause ourselves suffering.
We spin in our minds, replaying what they did or didn’t do, and we imagine all the ways it should have been different.
We hold onto our stories so tightly, the stories of ‘what should have been’, and we read them to ourselves every night - over and over and over.
But then we wake up, and the world is exactly as it is. Nothing has changed, and we feel exhausted from our losing battle against reality.
But it’s not our reality that’s making us suffer.
It’s our resistance to life’s circumstances that create our suffering.
Imagine for a second you could put down your book of stories of what should have been.
Imagine you could let go of every unmet expectation, every situation that you’ve felt the world was unkind or unfair, and simply accept that this was the way it was always supposed to be.
Simply because it’s the way it was.
How would you show up differently in your relationships if you no longer believed you knew how things should be or how people should behave?
How would you feel differently if you stopped fighting the reality of planet Earth, and embraced it for what it is?
For me, accepting that the world and the people in it aren’t always going to follow my instruction manual, and being totally fine with that – was the biggest gift of peace I could ever give to myself.
Because when I stop wasting my time trying to control the world around me, I’m finally able to focus and take ownership of the one thing I do have control over.
Me, my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions.