LoveWorks Podcast

Ep 32: Don’t Like Being Told What To Do? (Short episode)

How much do you like it when your partner or someone else, criticizes your behavior and tells you what you should be doing? Not very much, I’ll bet. No one likes being told what to do.

On this short podcast episode, I want to present just one simple idea to you. Yesterday, in my coaching and also on a call that Sonika and I lead for our Relationship Mastery Program students, we talked about the very common experience that most of us have had in one relationship or another, that our partner gets ON us about something. He or she might be telling you, stop being on your phone all the time, etc.

When someone corrects your behavior or criticizes your choices, there’s a translation that happens in your mind. The actual message coming out of your partner’s mouth might be something like, “Are you still on your phone. Put it away and be with your family”. The translation that happens in your mind makes this message much more personal. In your mind, it sounds more like, “You’re bad. You shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. You’re making bad choices. You’re not good enough”.

And because there’s a part of you that fears they might be right about that, you instinctively fight it. Because you don’t want it to be true that you’re a bad person, and that you’re not good enough. So you resist, you tell your partner to sod off or mind their own business, or if you’re less direct, you say, ok fine, I was just resting a bit, alright, alright, I’ll get on it. You make a change in your behavior because if you don’t, he or she is going to get very upset and you make the calculation that it’s not worth it, so you do as they say.

But the thing is … when you make a change to your behavior that’s only fueled by someone else telling you to change; or you change simply to avoid being criticized more, the change you make tend to not stick.

That’s the simply idea I want to give you is that if you want to make any sort of real change to your behavior, you have to change because YOU want to.

I suggest an experiment: When your partner says, “You’re always wasting time on your phone, why can’t you just be with me!?”

Put their criticism aside this time. Take them out of the equation.

And then simply ask yourself, How do I like what I’m doing? What do I think of my behavior? Do I have any desire to change how I’m showing up?

If your genuine answer is that if you’re fine what you’re doing; if you feel your behavior is in accordance with the person you want to be, then great. In my opinion, you’re better off just owning your choices and not pretend otherwise.

But if, on the other side, you look at your own behaviors, and like the client I was coaching yesterday, and you conclude that your behavior is not a match to who you want to be, and that you really do want to make a change, great. Now you have some ownership. Now you have some skin in the game of your own change.

So the simple and hugely important idea is this: If you want to make any real changes in your behavior and in your life, YOU have to want to. YOU have to be the one to say you want to change.

Now you can go about making some actual change. And hey, if you realize that your partner had a point about you wasting a ton of time, it wouldn’t hurt to tell them.