When the Other Person is the Problem

Jul 29, 2020

When the Other Person is the Problem

I was on the phone with a friend the other day and I heard her say, in relation to her son, “If he would just listen and follow the rules, I wouldn’t have to be so angry all the time.” 

Her words struck me and reminded me of a relationship pitfall that can be so easy to slip into.

Do you find yourself thinking that if he/she (whoever that might be for you,) would just be different than things would be better and you’d be happier?

Does that thought leave you feeling power-LESS or power-FULL?

When you’re waiting for someone else to behave differently before you allow yourself to feel differently, you’re handing all of your power over to them.

In that scenario, all the components you have to work with are outside of your control.

What if I told you the opposite is true?

That it’s when you change, that others will change.

I know it’s a crazy thought! Let me share another story with you, this one is from a client I worked with years ago…

She was single and dating. Beyond frustrated and felt completely powerless and at the mercy of what was happening, or not happening.

Like she would never find what she was looking for.

She found herself going on dates then.. waiting for that text or call back.

While she was waiting, all sorts of emotions and thoughts came up:

“I don’t think he’s interested.”

“It wasn’t what I thought it was.” 

“He must have not liked our date.” 

The list goes on..

In our conversation, I started asking her questions to get to the facts of what happened.

When she went over the details of her date, she recalled them having a great time together from her perspective.

It wasn’t until after their evening was over and no text came (in the time frame she expected) that she sank into a spiral of doubtful thinking.

The human mind is a dangerous thing!

Related Article: Overcoming the Barriers in Your Relationships

If we didn’t happen to have this conversation before her day moved on, her thoughts might have snowballed into something bigger, only to ripple out into her actions later on.

Let’s imagine her spiral of doubt continued and her date ended up texting later in the evening – her response might have been cold or annoyed. She might pull back or not be as engaged.

Then he might actually pull away – the thing she was fearing most in the first place.

One of the simplest mental shifts that can break through all the noise and nonsense is remembering this:

Barrier Breakthrough #3: Assume positive intent until, you know, otherwise.

When she applied this approach she would come back to our calls completely surprised by the outcome of how things unfolded.

After her dates, she found that the men she was seeing generally did respond and things were just fine. Or they didn’t respond, and maybe it didn’t turn out how she had hoped – but the process felt completely different because she took responsibility for her mental space and didn’t allow those moments to rob her of her peace.

Related Article: Barrier #2: When Life Stress Creates Barriers in Our Relationships

Your thinking has a HUGE impact on the experience you are having in your relationships and with yourself and your responses thereafter.

Your thinking is the ONE THING you have absolute control over and the one thing that can change everything for you.

Start to become aware of your thinking, create a pause before responding. Start to do the work of replacing your old, out-dated, sometimes autoresponse thinking with new ones that give you mobility and help you move closer to what you DO want.

When you change your thinking and approach, you leave room for others to surprise you and end up avoiding a whole lot of mental noise and internal suffering.

Here are some resources to help you dive deeper:

Go about your life, be who you want to be and stick to the facts of what is happening.

Harness your thinking and stick to what you know for sure. Before you create a whole big story based on assumptions.

Ready for different?

Never miss a beat with personal notes straight to your inbox. Simple ideas + inspiration to help you rethink what’s possible.


My Mission

I love it. I live it. I teach it.