Would your life be so much better if other people wouldn’t cause you so much trouble?
You don’t mean to point fingers. You know that all relationships are a two-way street—and that you need to take responsibility for your problems.
But in your case, you have a legitimate reason to believe that you really would feel much happier if certain people weren’t behaving the way they do:
Your husband never picks up around the house, no matter how much you ask him to.
Your colleague keeps dropping the ball on projects, forcing you to pick up the slack.
Your child has morphed from being lovely and cuddly to telling you she hates you.
Your wife never seems to appreciate anything you do right.
Your mother can’t help but criticize the way you run your house or parent your children.
Your brother can’t get his act together, and you’ve had to bail him out several times (on top of the personal stuff you already have to deal with).
In each of these cases, it’s clear that the other person isn’t behaving in a fair, loving, or responsible way.
It’s obvious that if this other person would be more thoughtful and clean up his or her end of the deal, you wouldn’t have a problem.
Or would you?
Unless you’re a hermit or live life in a bubble, you’re guaranteed to have to deal with people who will behave in ways that cause anything from annoyance to major challenges.
Fighting against this is, well, a losing battle.
You have little to no control over anyone else, and the same goes for other people trying to control you.
Your mother can tell you all the ways your house would be so much cleaner if you did it her way, but she can’t make you do anything. And in the process—as you’ve experienced—she’ll make things a lot harder for the both of you.
Even our own children are ultimately beyond our control—you can’t make a child feel a certain way toward you.
What’s more, trying to get someone to change so you feel better about yourself and your life is actually a form of self-abandonment. By focusing on someone else, you create a built-in mechanism for avoiding taking responsibility for your own feelings.
You’re depending on an external circumstance (which you have no power over) to have dominion over your internal state.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re stuck dealing with whatever someone else is dishing at you. On the other hand, when you realize what you CAN control, then you automatically open up choices for yourself.
When another person is behaving in a way that is upsetting or hurtful to us, you always have two choices:
Our first choice is that we can move into an intent to learn about ourselves and with the other person to try to understand the other’s behavior, and discover if there is anything we are doing that is contributing to the issue.
Yes, even when we are certain that the problem is the other person’s fault, asking ourselves how we are creating the issue is of utmost importance. There could be a reason why you’ve attracted the situation in the first place. Perhaps growing up you came to expect that relationships are hard work, and so now as an adult, the inner child within you is drawn to challenging people and situations.
In fact, if you’re convinced it’s the other person’s fault—and that you are so much more ahead in your personal growth—then you especially need to examine what your contribution to the issue might be.
For instance, whenever I work with someone who is certain they are “more evolved” than their partner, I know they actually have a lot more work to do!
There’s a welcome bonus to—even temporarily—dropping the blame: People are much more responsive to us. If you make someone else responsible for an issue, they are likely to become defensive and dig in their heels even more. But when you question your own contribution to the issue, you open the doorway to dialogue and collaboration. Then both of you can move into discovering the loving actions you can take to remedy the situation.
Now, what happens if you are willing to take responsibility, but you’re still met with resistance? This is where we come to choice number two:
If the other person is not open to learning with us or they are not someone we are interested in learning with, then the only loving action is to lovingly disengage from the situation, and then do an Inner Bonding process to discover what the loving action is for ourselves.
Inner Bonding is a 6-step process I created over 30 years ago with my friend and fellow therapist Erika Chopich. It’s a simple yet highly effective way to identify the underlying emotional pain that’s at the root of almost all relationship conflict, inner struggle, and discontent. Then, Inner Bonding helps you determine the specific actions you need to take in order to be more loving to yourself.
This is what you DO have control over. What you DON’T have control over is getting the other person to change.
Moving into an intent to learn with the other person may bring about new learning that changes the situation between you, but this is not a given. You may still need to do your own Inner Bonding process to discover your own loving action.
As long as we make other people responsible for our feelings, we are living life as victims. Victims have no power over their situation. Even if we have endured unspeakable pain at the hands of someone else, we can still choose to take control of our present instead of staying stuck in the past.
By opening to learning about what you need to do for yourself in the face of someone else’s choices and behavior, you become empowered to control what you can control—your own loving actions on your own behalf. This is what moves you out of feeling like a victim and into emotional freedom.
Now, you may be asking exactly how you can discover what the loving actions for yourself might be. The answers lie in connecting with the inner guidance already within you.
You might not know how to connect with this inner wisdom or even believe that it’s there. But it’s there for all of us. The problem is that as long as we continue to focus externally by trying to change other people—attempting to control what we can’t control—we automatically turn away from our inner guidance.
It is only when you 100% accept your total lack of control over others and outcomes that you can fully access the wisdom of your guidance. As long as there is any intent to control, you will not be able to discover the loving action for yourself.
This is where Inner Bonding has been a lifesaver for thousands of people—even after traditional therapy and countless other approaches have failed. As soon as you begin with step one of Inner Bonding, you immediately move into the intent to learn. As you work your way through the six steps (which can take mere minutes), you will connect with your inner guidance and discover the loving actions to take in any situation.
People often tell me how hard it is for them to connect with their guidance. Actually, connecting with your guidance is not hard at all when you are truly in an intent to learn about what is loving to you. But it is impossible to get in touch with your inner guidance when you are:
Luckily for you, it’s never been easier to learn Inner Bonding with my book Thriving At Last: 6 steps to Miraculously Transform Your Life From the Inside Out.
Thriving At Last is a comprehensive, easy-to-read, step-by-step manual that not only gives you the theory and “why” of Inner Bonding, but it presents you with therapeutic self-reflection exercises that take you through this process in real-time.
Instead of stewing about what someone else is doing—your habitual pattern until now—you’ll have a precise, powerful tool you can immediately implement anywhere, anytime. As you move through the process, you automatically move out of victimhood, so you will immediately feel better about the situation simply because you are taking responsibility for it.
Then, you will arrive at concrete steps you can take for yourself—independent of what the other person chooses to do or not do:Learn Inner Bonding Now
What you CAN control is your own intent, your own responses, your own thoughts, and your own actions toward yourself and others.
Why waste energy trying to control what you can’t control? Why not just focus on what you can control—you!