EP03: When you can’t control what’s happening

May 27, 2022

Episode Description

Ever try to control your partner? How’s that working for you?

It’s never worked well for me and if I ever figure out how to do that, I’d be a gazillionaire.

No… that’s not true. I wouldn’t tell anyone how to control someone else, because I don’t believe we should try to control each other.

Instead, I believe in personal responsibility and showing up as the best version of myself that I can in any given moment. One of the ways I do that is remembering my Serenity Manifesto.

In today’s episode, I share that and the three choices you have that are born from that manifesto to help you feel better when things are not in your control. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart
Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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Hey, how’s it going, everybody? You know, I. I love my intro. I mean, maybe you don’t, maybe it’s wrong that I love it, but every time I listen to it and I listen to it just before I record so that I can kinda like get in the mood. I just want to stand here and dance. I just love that music. So. I don’t know. I’m weird maybe, but I just think it’s fun. And I want this podcast to be fun. I know that the topic can be kind of heavy at times. And I just found myself just now, like rerecording this opening because I found every time was like, Hey everybody, here’s this super heavy thing I want to talk about. And it’s like, no, like, relationships are awesome.

Relationships are fun. And if they’re not, let’s do something about it. Let’s reboot that relationship. Let’s make it something you want to be in. Something you want to enjoy. Okay? You with me? Let’s do this. All right. 

So I’m super pumped up because I had a great week. Saturday was this all day event that I went to. It was called Hanmadang and I know it sounds dirty, but it was a martial arts, all styles of event that was hosted here in Eugene and people came from all over and they competed and they showed their different styles. It was just so much fun to be there and see all the things. So I, what I did was I created this backdrop that said, “I believe in me”, and I just encouraged people to come by my booth and get their photo taken. And there were a ton of kids there. And then tons of parents taking their pictures and taking pictures together. And I posted some of those on my Instagram. So if you want to go check that out, it’s at Sheila D Morgan on Instagram and see some of the photos.

Super cool. And obviously this is going to be probably a few weeks after that event, but you can find them, just go take a look. So while I was at the event, I was giving away a copy of the latest Brené Brown book called “Atlas of the Heart”, which is super good. It’s all about emotions. And she kind of, she breaks them down based on her research and defines some of them and explains why this one is named that and where this one comes from. And just, it’s just fascinating. I just love her stuff. And so if you like, Brené Brown, go check that out. And man, I’m still breathing heavy to say from the, from the dancing. 

But one of the things that I get asked quite a bit is “do you coach couples?” And my answer is yes, I do coach couples, but I never have both of them on the call at the same time. It’s always separate. And the reason why is because your relationship with yourself is the foundation of all the other relationships. 

There is no point in me sitting a couple down together and saying, oh, okay, tell me what the problem is and then having them like point fingers at each other. So what I do instead is I bring one person in and I say, okay, tell me what’s going on. I listen to what they’re struggling with, what they’re dealing with. I coach them, teach them tools, everything that they need help with to help them find the solution that works for them.

When you have two people, sometimes, not always, but sometimes they don’t show up as open and vulnerable as they do with just me. So to answer your question, I don’t coach couples. I coach individuals that are in relationships. 

Okay. So last week we did a marriage review. We looked at what’s working in the relationship. We looked at what’s not working. And then we talked about finding the part that we have control over and taking control of it and making the changes there. The part that we didn’t go over is what do you do with the areas that you don’t have control over? So that’s what we’re talking about today. 

Most people have heard of the serenity prayer where, you know, God grant me the serenity da da da. Well, if you don’t already know this about me, I don’t believe in an all powerful being who looks down on us and grants us diddly squat. I believe in the power of human beings and their ability to create for themselves. I believe that we’re all connected. You know, the web of life, all the flora, fauna, the earth, the sky, the water.

I believe that there’s this energy that like flows between all the things. Okay. So basically I believe in the Force. Yes, I’m a, I’m a nerd. I’m a star wars nerd. That’s, that’s where I stand with all of that. So the serenity prayer didn’t really align for me. It didn’t really give me peace. It didn’t really give me serenity. And that is. That was the point of it. 

So I decided to come up with my own version and I call it the Serenity Manifesto and it goes like this: 

I have the clarity to see how I want my life to be, the courage to take action without knowing whether it will turn out, and the curiosity to learn and grow beyond the fear of circumstances outside my control.

And that’s basically the theme of what I’m about to share with you. I’m going to give you three possible ways that you might handle things that are not in your control. 

Number one is denial. 

“It’s not happening.” You disengage. You distance yourself. You don’t see… like the guy… who’s the guy in, uh, Hogan’s Heroes? “I see nothing!” Like that guy. Like nothing’s going on. Nothing’s happening. Now, did his denial change what was happening? No. They were still moving prisoners through the system, helping people escape, getting people out of Germany. It didn’t change the facts at all. Denial doesn’t work. 

So what’s the antidote for denial? To notice it and to name it. See that it’s happening and declare that it’s happening. You don’t want to find yourself in resignation about it. However, that leads to number two, suffering. Suffering through the thing… suffering through the thing that you can’t control. And oh my gosh, it’s this terrible problem. And I just, uh, and there’s complaining and there’s arguing and there’s worrying and there’s frustration. Who wants that? Right? Nobody wants that in their relationship. 

The antidote for suffering is to make requests. Ask for what you want. Ask for the change. Now remember the other person is their own being their own entity. They have agency for themselves so they could grant your request or they could say no, or they could negotiate with you.

So you need to prepare for no, if you do make a request. Just because you ask for something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. However, if you don’t ask for it, you’re definitely not going to get it right. 

Okay. So the third thing is growth. I know that sounds really weird, right. Growth. Okay. So what does that look like?

It looks like getting curious, asking questions. The thing that I’ve learned is that you cannot be judgmental and curious at the same time. It’s like they cancel each other out. When we’re judging something, we’re not curious at all. But when we really get curious, “why is this happening? What’s going on here?” maybe your partner is behaving a particular way. And instead of thinking judgmentally about them, get curious. “Hey, why are they doing that?” Byron Katie teaches that when we resist reality, we lose a hundred percent of the time. Because what is true, what is real, what is so right now is true, real, and so right now. So denying it or suffering in it, it doesn’t make it go away.

So the change that needs to be made is inside of you. You allow and accept the things that you can’t change. There’s no antidote for this because this is the antidote. Being curious, learning about what’s going on, and allowing it. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever try to change it. Right? That’s what making requests is for.

You notice it, you name it, make a request if you can. And if you can’t do anything, get curious. You hear the phrase, “let it go”, but let it go is kind of a place of denial and suffering and resignation. This is like the step beyond let it go. This is “let it be”. Let it be and find that place of peace and serenity for yourself.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for you. I hope this gives you a little bit of something that you can hold onto when things are tough. And I know I started this episode with whoo-hoo, party, dance and ending it kind of heavy. But when we learn to let things be and get curious and allow them, it actually does lighten you up.

All right. I love you. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

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