Recently, it was Stevie’s birthday.
I made the mistake early on in our marriage of throwing him a surprise birthday party AT WORK.
Big big mistake.
He doesn’t like birthdays or surprises or cake.
He likes just regular Tuesdays and a nice dinner at home and apple pie.
I was so hurt that he didn’t love how what I had done.
I made his birthday all about me and I let it be an excuse to prove the story in my head—that he doesn’t appreciate what I do.
I’ve learned a lot about love and relationships and Stevie since then.
So tonight, I’m making steak and risotto and apple pie. AT HOME.
I’ve also learned that the story in my head couldn’t have been further from the truth.
He loves me. He sacrifices so much for us. He’s faithful and loyal and steadfast.
He’s stoic and funny and stubborn and loves to live his simple, quiet life with his family.
I didn’t always see it that way because it’s so much easier to blame and create drama and focus on the negative.
Why doesn’t he want to go out to dinner? Why doesn’t he surprise me for my birthday? Why is he so quiet? Why? why? Why?
I used to blame him for my emotions. I used to tell a different story about us. Until I realized that I’m in charge of the narrative of my life.
I’ve found a few ways that I think will help you stop blaming others for what seems to be lacking in our relationships.
Your relationships are up to you.
You can write the story how you want.
Your life is your responsibility and you lose all your power when you blame other people for how it’s turning out.
YOU are the ONE.
Here are the 7 ways:
Stop Blaming Others For How You Feel
YOUR thoughts cause YOUR feelings, so nobody can make you feel anything!
Mamas, this is so hard! But we all need to take responsibility for our own feelings.
I’ve had a rough couple of weeks lately, in my own head. A lot of different things have happened–nothing terrible, mind you–and it just got to me. Have you ever gotten into a cycle where you’re just in your own head, you feel sorry for yourself, and you just want to blame ALL THE PEOPLE AND ALL THE THINGS? Finally, I just said to myself, “It’s okay. I’m just having a couple of weeks of feeling a little off. ”
It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s not the fault of the person who didn’t take out the trash or who doesn’t meet my expectations or who didn’t keep that commitment. It’s not any of that. This is all me. And when we acknowledge this:
You take your power back.
Now you can be the one to change your feelings and frame of mind. But when you blame someone else for how you are feeling–mad, sad, overwhelmed, etc.–then they have to change for you to feel better.
Nobody is responsible for your feelings but you.
So if you’re feeling off, don’t look other places to find somebody or something to blame. Look inside and figure out why am I feeling this way? What thoughts are driving this? Why am I feeling off?
Only you can own that.
It’s not anyone else’s to deal with or to make better.
Stop Making Excuses
That is, stop making excuses for why your relationships are struggling.
“Well, it’s because of this. Well, it’s because… ”
It’s so easy to do that, you guys.
But I’m here to tell you that it is important to stop making excuses and start taking action to make it better.
You’re the one who can make it better with the way you choose to think, feel, and act. Relationships take one person–one person who decides “I am going to take control and decide how I want to feel about this person.”
So ask yourself…
Do you want stronger, more meaningful relationships?
You don’t even need the other person to do their part. You can create better relationships because relationships are just the way you think and feel about the person, and you’re totally in control of that.
So decide not to make any more excuses and start making it better by thinking the thoughts you want to think and feeling how you want to feel about the person–regardless of what they do, don’t do, say, don’t say, etc.
You decide how you want to show up.
Give Yourself What You Need
It took me so long to figure this out.
I don’t need anybody else’s emotional support. I need to learn to support myself. I need to give myself what I need. I need to take care of myself and then both of us can show up.
Isn’t it beautiful to show up to a friendship where you don’t have any weird expectations? You just show up with love, curiosity, care, and tenderness. You are open to all the possibilities. You don’t need them to do anything.
Because you’ve figured out what you need and you’ve made sure those needs are met. This means that you show up to relationships fully you and fully present without a checklist of needs that you need to other person to meet.
What is it that I need? I need to take care of myself. I need fuel myself and my soul. I need to have downtime. I need to exercise. I need to eat healthy food. Once I’ve figured out what I need, I am responsible for seeing that those needs are met.
I am the boss of me.
Stop Chasing Happiness In Temporal, External Things
Your contentment and peace of mind is YOUR work.
Other people cannot make you happy. They don’t hold the secret to your peace and contentment.
Neither does money, nor any kind of socioeconomic status.
In fact, nothing external is going to fill the emptiness in your heart.
You were created by God for relationship–with Him and with His people.
When we go about life thinking, “Oh, this person is going to make me happy. When I finally get this house, this is going to make me happy. When I finally get this job, then I’ll have peace and contentment.” We put all this pressure on everything and everyone in our lives to get us to the point of peace and contentment.
But I’m here to tell you that’s an inside job.
You make you happy and then you show up to your relationships, ready to have fun, love, and serve.
Stop Complaining About The People In Your Life
You guys, we complain so MUCH about the people in our lives!
What about making it more fun?
I say to myself all the time, “How can I make this relationship more fun? How can I make it more fun to be with my kids?”
You guys comment on my Instagram stories saying, “Oh my gosh, it looks like you and Tom Tom are having so much fun. You’re giving him such a good life.”
Here’s the thing. I have to coach myself. I have to say, “I could just complain about what I’d rather be doing or I can totally submerse myself in the life of seven-year-old boy life and just enjoy it.” I have trained myself over the last few months to let down my weird adult expectations and complaining and just enjoy him. As a result, I have eyes that see and appreciate all the fun and hilarity he brings to life.
It’s the same with teenagers. Can you just enjoy them? Can you just listen to their crazy music and watch their crazy videos and go, “Oh my gosh, this is so funny. This is so interesting.”
Do you see what I’m mean?
I feel like so often, we bring this heaviness to our relationships when we could just make it lighthearted and fun–just enjoy the relationships we have.
What are you saying out loud about the people in your life and your relationships? Are you complaining all the time?
Go on a gratitude spree.
I want you to message 10 (or thereabouts) people and say, “I’m so thankful for you in my life. I love you. I adore how you do this and I am so grateful for you.”
The other day, I did this for Tom Tom and I wish you all could have seen the light on his face. It was the best. What a precious thing it is just to remind people that you adore and are grateful for them.
There’s a quote I love and it goes like this:
To love someone is to remind them of their magic when they have forgotten.
Who can you remind today of their magic?
Know what will happen?
Not only will you make that person’s day, you are going to make YOUR DAY. You’re going to end up feeling so grateful for the people in your life.
Stop Resenting And Start Forgiving
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
If you could walk a mile in their shoes, you might change your mind about them. Maybe the heaviness that they are feeling, maybe the heartache that they’re walking through, maybe the grief that they’re in right now is so heavy that they’re just doing the best they can.
What if we just stopped resenting people and just started forgiving them?
Not even so much for them, but for us and our holding onto resentment.
What if you just let it all go? What if you just started over and said, “You know what, I’m just going to come to this relationship with love. No expectations, no weird neediness, just love. I just want to show up and look at you and your life and be thankful for how God made you and for the fact that our paths have crossed.”
What if we just showed up like that?
What magic would there be in the world if we just showed up like that?
Take Action TODAY To Make Every Relationship Better
You can make every relationship in your life better today.
It doesn’t take much. Just give someone an extra-long hug and say, “I’m so grateful for you.”
What messages can you send? What tiny little acts of love can you commit? How can you remind people of the things that you love about them? You can do this for your spouse. You can do this for your kids. Anyone.
Can you step out of whatever it is you’re in long enough to be thankful for the people in your life?
You have the power to change your relationships and you don’t need anything from anybody else to do it. You don’t need them to change.
You can change your experience of the relationship by choosing how you think about them, how you choose to show up with them, how you choose to mull over the things that you love about them.
I reimagined the relationship with my dad after he died. I just decided what an amazing relationship it was, what an incredible man he was, how he loved me in the way that only he could. If you’ve read my book or looked at my life, you know this wasn’t exactly what happened. You can tell the story however you want. It’s true either way. Did he love me? Yes. Was he an alcoholic? Yes. Same thing about your marriage, you can build evidence for your relationships in either direction.
I encourage you today to build some evidence for the beautiful, amazing, messy relationships that you have and go nurture them.
Go take massive action. Go today. Don’t let one more day go by without telling your people how thankful you are for them.
If you want to take your life and relationships to the next level, get on the waiting list for Life Mentoring School, my coaching program. We open back up for a few days in January!