17. The Script

Hello, my friends!  Are you starting to get warmer weather?  Maybe you’re on the opposite side of the world and your weather is turning cooler?  Here it’s starting to warm up and my flowers are starting to come alive and burst into color.  I love color!  It makes my world vibrant and rich and I love it!

After last weeks podcast came out, I was informed that my editing skills missed a spot and I said the same thing twice.  I was asked if I could still go in and change it.  The answer was yes, but I’d have to unpublish it, re-edit it and then republish it.  I don’t think this would’ve taken too long, but I decided to leave it the way it is because I’m a recovering perfectionist and I want to be an example to all those out there who struggle with their worth being tied to everything being perfect.  I wanted to be an example of someone who made a mistake, failed, and still lived to talk about it.  I know that I talk a lot about life being 50-50 and humans being 50-50.  I talk about how I know I’m 50% a mess and 50% amazing.  Well, my friends.  I didn’t change it because it’s a bigger learning opportunity for me to embrace my 50% messy side and prove to myself that it’s okay.  It’s okay to be a human and to let everyone see it and know that I’m still 100% full of worth no matter what. 

This failure got me thinking about the world and how we have so many expectations about how we think something should be.  When we watch shows on TV and movies, we expect those to be seamlessly edited for our enjoyment and I imagine it would distract from our pure immersion of the story if it wasn’t, but one of the parts I love to watch are the bloopers.  It allows the viewers an opportunity to see the actor’s human sides. It’s like we get a glimpse into their real life.

I know it’s a small thing, and maybe for some of you, it’s totally irrelevant, but for me, it’s huge!  It’s me putting myself out there and being okay with myself even when it’s not perfect.  So that’s why I decided not to edit it and if there’s something that you are working on and isn’t quite perfect yet, it’s okay.  It’s good enough and let it go.  My level of stress and anxiety has gone way down since I started accepting, I mean truly believing and accepting, that I am 50% a mess and I love me anyway.

I want to give a quick thank you to sweatpea kelso and lifelong football mom for rating and reviewing my podcast.  It means so much that you’d take the time to do that for me.  Can the rest of you do me a favor? If you’re loving this show, please take a quick second to rate, follow, and share so others can find me.

Today I want to talk to you about a script.  It’s a complete story of expectations that we’ve unknowingly written. Where do expectations come from?  I did a little research on expectations and from what I gathered, expectations come from our brains taking our current environment, and experiences in that environment, and the knowledge we have gained so far and then analyzing what we think should happen from there. So growing up, we all started writing a script to a movie or a book, a story of how we think life will be and how we think everyone should behave and how we should behave.  And if everyone follows our script, then we can be happy.  Then we know life is good.

Let me give you a simple example of what I mean by this. If you grew up with dad always taking out the trash, then your mind may have calculated an idea that taking out the trash is a man’s job and you wrote that in your script.  Or if your mom always made the dinners, then you may have scripted the woman to be the one who does all the meals.  It’s completely natural to do this, but let me ask you, is it serving you? 

What if you marry someone and your partner’s parents did it the exact opposite?  Then you’ve got you and your partner thinking it’s the other person in the marriage that should be doing those jobs and that might cause contention.  So it could benefit you to really question, why you’re thinking that way and where you think you got that idea AND if it’s really true?  Because if you’re thinking dad should take out the trash and your partner’s thinking, no mom always took out the trash, then what’s really true?

And if you grew up with a script that the next step after high school is college because everyone who wants to be successful in life must go to college, I’d beg to differ.  I think many people can agree that’s not true from all the you-tubers and computer programmers who are millionaires today without going to college.  Maybe they had additional schooling somewhere else like Tech school. The brilliant people in this brilliant world have come up with so many more opportunities than the one option I thought I had growing up. And I understand that there are some professions that require college and beyond in order to fulfill. I’d definitely want to know that my doctor went to med school. So I’m not saying that there’s no point to college, but if you’re expecting your child to go to college, even if they don’t see that in their future, is your expectation causing contention in your relationship with them? 

And, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have any expectations, because I think it’s a natural human thing to do, but figure out what your reasons are behind this script you’ve written and if it’s costing you anything to have it.  How are your current expectations impacting your life? Are they having an impact on your current relationship with others and with yourself? 

When we have healthy, happy relationships, our life experiences feel more healthy and happy overall.  However, it’s the relationships that aren’t as easy and cause us to really need to watch our thoughts around them that can be the most powerful teacher.  Those are the ones that can really help us reflect on our own personal stories and scripts we have for our life and the way we think things should be.

I definitely had a complete script written out for when I had kids.  I started writing it when I was a probably a tween; or even younger.  I’d see other people’s children and think, my child will be just like that or my children will never do that.  When my husband and I were so much younger and trying to get pregnant, I’d fantasize about what a wonderful mother I would be and because of that, my kids would be these perfect angels always doing what they were told and learning and growing into super smart and savvy children who would one day change the world. 

I had many ideas and opinions about other mothers and who I wanted to be like.  I’d look at their kids and how they were turning out, and if it was how I wanted my kids to be, I’d think, I’ll be a mother like her and then my kids would turn out the same.  My kids would be kind to each other, respect each other, and we’d have the model family.  If you’re a parent, you know that’s just crazy talk! 

There’s no such thing as the story I had created in my brain.  I’m guessing this concoction came from watching other families from the outside in, which is always so much prettier than what reality is and from watching TV shows, which back in the 80’s and 90’s were anything, but reality.

But this is what we do.  We create complete stories in our heads, write complete scripts about how we think our lives will play out and we watch that movie over and over in our heads.  How are kids will be, how our marriages will be, what kind of spouse we’ll have, what kind of spouse we’ll be, what kind of parent we’ll be, how our careers will be.  And there’s nothing wrong with dreaming and aspiring for these possibilities, but are these stories, and the lack of their reality, causing you more pain than what’s necessary?

We can have expectations for our kids and ourselves, and anyone else we have authority over, but sometimes when they don’t fulfill that expectation, we make it mean something else then what it truly is and we can take it personally.  We feel angry or hurt or frustrated because it didn’t turn out the way we expected to.  And then we are very clear to that person that we are feeling the way we do because of them.    

For example, have you ever expected your kids to make their beds and then when they didn’t your response was something close to, “you didn’t make your bed and that makes mommy very upset or that hurts mommy’s feelings.”

When we make requests of people and then hang our own emotions on rather they fulfill them, we are giving up complete power over what we want to feel.  It would be very different to say, “if you don’t clean your room, your consequence will be this.”  When you try to convince people that it’s their fault for the way you feel, that’s emotional blackmail.  You’re conning yourself into believing that they have all the power to make you feel things.

I was having a conversation with my youngest the other week about him putting more effort into high school and he said, “plenty of people never graduated high school and were still successful.” First, I was like, “uh, is he listening to my podcasts?” because yes, I did say that in a recent episode.  So I told him, “yeah, and plenty of people didn’t graduate and ended up broke and homeless and lost and restricted. Why would you purposely, out of all the opportunities available to you, and where you are so smart and have so much potential just waiting for you to tap in to, why would you limit yourself like that when you could have the option to choose any path because you chose to do well in high school?”

So yes, we have authority over our kids and we have expectations for them.  We have expectations for people we supervise or are the boss of.  We have expectations for ourselves.  Are you able to set expectations that has nothing to do with your personal opinion about them, to allow them the space to live their best life?  Be aware of what your brain wants you to do when people don’t meet your expectations; when they start acting off-script.  Do you instantly go to feeling frustrated or angry because they didn’t meet it?  Realize that you are hanging your emotions on something that you don’t have control over. So you could set an expectation and impose a consequence if they don’t meet it. But ultimately you still need to allow them to make their decision because trying to control them will make you crazy. I’ve tried to make consequences as natural as possible for my kids. What’s going to help them see the reality of it and what’s going to help them learn to live on their own one day?  

For example, for our children, we expect them to get good grades.  But ultimately, we know we don’t have control over that.  Unless we are going to do all their homework for them, badger the teachers about giving them more time or more chances or more opportunities.  We could literally live their life for them, trying to force the nature of consequences, but then that’s stealing away their life experience and their opportunity to grow.  How can we teach them responsibility?  For our kids, when they started to drive, we’d pay for their car insurance.  We’d tell them that as long as they were getting the good student discount, we’d cover it.  But when they didn’t, then they were expected to pay the difference.  And when my oldest had to do summer school because he failed a class, we told him that we already paid for him to take it once so now it’s his turn to pay to take the class.

We can’t make our children get good grades. Would we like them to?  Absolutely!  And we talk about how getting good grades will ultimately set them up for so many more opportunities in life, but it’s still up to them. And I need to decide that if they don’t get good grades, then I’m not going to get upset. I might be sad because I know they are cutting themselves off from certain opportunities, but being upset, getting frustrated, doesn’t allow me to be the mom that I want to show up as. If I can leave out the intense emotions because they’re not following that script that I’ve written for them, then it allows me to follow through on the consequences with love. I can say, yes, it stinks that you have to pay for your own car insurance, but if you want to keep driving that car, you need to get a job to pay the difference. 

If you don’t want it to drive you crazy, think about how you would feel if they did everything you wanted them to in the exact way you expected it. If they followed your script to the “T”.  How would you get to feel?  Guess what?  You can feel that way anyway. And you can feel it right now. You don’t have to wait. Notice the only reason you’re feeling this way is because of what you’re thinking. You only feel the way you do because you think they should be behaving differently than they are. But if they aren’t, then you’re feeling crappy for that and your relationship suffers because crappy, frustrated, angry fuel is going to drive how you act around them. 

Expecting people to follow through on all the things you want them to do, to follow the script you’ve written for them, can set you up for frustration.  You can make a request, and if you have authority over them, you can even set a consequence, but it’s up to them if they want to follow through. And if they don’t, then you’re still responsible for just you, how you’ll feel and how you’ll behave from it.   When you hang how you’re going to feel based on if they do it or not, then you’re just handing over your power to feel.

It’s so eye opening to really sit down and think about the scripts we’ve written out and then challenging them to see if they really are true or if they truly are something we wrote a long time ago and think are true.  It’s not easy to put a script down and allow others to be who they want to be, but I promise, the sooner you learn to do it, the sooner you’re setting yourself free from so much unnecessary drama in your relationships.

If you’re looking for help on doing this, that’s what I’m here for.

If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours.  If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you!  go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.

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