How many times have you heard the saying “their behaviour has nothing to do with you!”
And even though you understand this – do you live life really KNOWING it?
Or are you stuck in a cycle of interpreting and personalising the behaviour of others – to your detriment?
If it’s the latter, then this episode is for you!
Lisa breaks down different scenarios – with our children, our partners, our friends and our family of origin – where you might be creating meaning where there is none.
What might life feel like if, instead of taking things personally, you get curious about the other person and lead with compassion?
A powerful episode of self-exploration.
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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here
Hey, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life, and if you are too, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you’re here. Enjoy.
Hey, welcome to another episode of the podcast. Just a really short, sharp one today, and this has come up in a few different coaching calls that I’ve been running lately, and I just wanted to put it out there, this little reminder, this little reminder, that I’m always reminding myself about too. Do you know, when I practise this and it’s sort of become my default way that I speak to myself, the first sort of question that I ask about things, it just brings me so much more peace in my life. It makes what could potentially be a heightened, kind of triggered situation just a little bit more neutral, and that’s what it’s all about, really, for me. The goal is living a little bit more of a peaceful, contented, joyful life, and when I really realised, like you know when you can hear something over and over and over again, and you think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it.”
“I get it. I get it,” but you don’t. You don’t actually, because you’re not living in a way that reflects a true knowing of this thing. When you really get it, oh, things can be so transformed almost in an instant, so for years, we know people act the way they do. What they say, it’s more about them than you, or if they’re feeling like this, it’s most likely got nothing to do with you, but we can sort of think we understand that, but we don’t operate in a way that reflects a true knowing because we make what other people say, do, think, behave mean something about us. We’re constantly interpreting and assuming we know what’s going on for someone else when so many times we don’t, and so many times we personalise it.
We make it mean something about ourselves, and so this question that I ask myself all the time is, “Has this got anything to do with me? Just taking a moment to figure out if this is about me. Nope. Nope. This is actually theirs,” and instantly, we can feel compassion.
Think about my kids, and I think about what’s coming in the teenage years. I think even now, if they are a bit grumpy at me or unhappy about a certain situation, I’ve set a boundary or I’ve given them, drawn a bit of a line in the sand around something, and they can have their moment and they can be like unhappy. They can even be unhappy at me, and I don’t have to make that mean that I’m a bad mom or that this isn’t the right thing to do in our house. I can let them have their emotional reaction and not personalise it. I think especially in our close personal relationships, there is so much assumption and meaning-making and personalising things with our partners.
I was deeply caught up in that, in the years of really very codependent behaviour with Nick. “If I do this, then he won’t do that or he will do this,” and he’s just gone and done that. That means he doesn’t love me or this is happening. I absolutely understand where he’s coming from. Oh my God, I did not understand that man.
In the years since his death, I’ve learnt so much more about brains. I’ve learnt so much more about neurodiversity. I have learnt so much more that could have helped me understand him, help him understand himself, and we only ever have the level of understanding that we have in a moment, and let’s face it, none of us truly understand the human experience and everything that’s going on for a person. We can love someone and feel like we’re their closest person, and still, they’re a bit of a mystery. What an exciting place to be to see someone as a mystery.
It’s like pass the parcel. Oh, there’s another layer of understanding. Oh, interesting, and I still see you as someone who I get to unwrap layers of. I will never assume that I know everything about a person because we’re constantly becoming, and we have, well, the age that I am in my 40’s, decades of layers. I don’t even understand why I do things sometimes, let’s be honest, and yet, we’re constantly assuming that we understand what’s happening for another person, and when we personalise for ourselves, we make it mean certain things about us, when really, it’s just that person having a moment, experiencing things for themselves, you know?
I mean, for me, for sure, there was always a lot of words that were shared in my marriage. Not by me, but by Nick, was always deep in self-exploration. I mean, he wrote music to try and express how he was feeling. He wrote poems. He wrote and wrote and wrote in journals.
There was so many words. There was such a deep level of expression, and then entering a relationship with someone very different where there’s still definitely depth. There’s still heartfelt self-exploration and constant learning and awareness, but it’s not all expressed, and I, in the beginning would make that mean all sorts of things like, “Am I not a person he feels comfortable to share with or get vulnerable with, or what’s wrong with me?,” or like maybe if I talk like this or do that, then something will … It’s like, “No, he just needed his time, just needed to get comfortable, just needed to get to a place where he felt safe in that,” and vice versa, and yet, I could have made that mean all sorts of things. I think that as we go down the path of learning about ourselves, and if you’re listening to this podcast, that’s what you’re here to do.
You are on that path of growth. Something might have happened in your life. You might just be bored with your life. You might be feeling frustrated and stuck. I don’t know.
Maybe you just like the content I share on social media, so you’re over here on the podcast having a listen. Hey, hello. Thanks for listening. Either way, you’re curious, right? You are naturally curious about yourself.
The thing that gets a lot of women frustrated is that the people around them might not be on the same path at the same time doing the same level of deep, personal exploration, and we make that mean all sorts of things too. We get frustrated, and we make it mean all sorts of things, and so often, could you have been pushed into learning about yourself, getting better at managing your own triggers, seeking out peace, attempting to change habits of a lifetime? You can’t be pushed into it, neither can anyone else. We’re all on our own path. Stop making wherever someone else is at mean something about you.
This is family of origin stuff too, big time. How personally are you taking things that these independent people who you happen to be in a family with were raised with or were raised by? You’re making it mean so many things about yourself when they behave in certain ways. They have their own stories. They have their own stuff.
They’ve lived a completely separate life to you, even although there’s similarities, and yet, they can trigger you like no one else. “We weren’t invited here to this, and therefore, that means blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Oh, well, is it true? Is that really true? Does this actually have anything to do with you, the decision that they made about that?
Oh, they’ve decided to move away. Oh, personalise that till the cows come home, or literally, literally anything. I want to encourage you to just take a moment and ask yourself, “Does this actually got anything to do with me? Might they be having their own personal experience?” Here’s what happens when that becomes your practise.
When instead of jumping to conclusions, assumptions, interpreting, making things feel personal, here’s what starts to happen, compassion for yourself and for them. It’s like instead of immediately jumping to conclusions, we take a moment and get curious. Just get curious. “I wonder why. I wonder why they did that.”
“I wonder if everything’s okay with them. That’s certainly out of character. Might just check in, ask what they need. Might just let them know after this is over and everything’s cooled down, how that made me feel, see if we can do things differently another time, but right now, they’re probably just going through something, and I don’t have to make that mean anything for myself. Those friends who didn’t invite me to that thing, maybe they just wanted to hang out with each other.”
“Maybe there was only this many people. Maybe that happened when they were all standing around at the footy game, and then they said, ‘We should catch up afterwards,’ and it wasn’t even anything major.” I see this with women all the time with friendships, taking things really, really personally, but maybe it’s got nothing to do with you. “Oh, can we just like …” I bet you’ve got a lot on your plate.
I bet you’re probably sometimes going at a pace that feels really not so, and you’re not able to consider each and every person in your life and how each and every decision that you make might affect them, or you can’t do it, so stop expecting everybody else to be able to do that too. Bring some compassion. Your partner coming home grumpy. Okay. It’s not fun, is it?
Not fun for you, but I wonder what’s going on for them that that’s actually happening. Do you talk about this in the same way every single time? Do you just go silent and feel rejected? Is there a different way that you could open up communication around this? Is there a softness?
Sometimes it’s just that simple question. “Actually, this probably has nothing to do with me. What is going on?” You might not even get answers, and then you have to be okay with that too. Not everyone finds it easy to express themselves.
I mean, I’ll put my hand up there. Yes, I talk a lot, but really, being able to articulate and be deeply vulnerable and honest with myself and the people closest to me can sometimes feel challenging for me, and I’ve had to really look at why that is, and I really appreciate compassion around that, so I offer it to other people too. I mean, isn’t it nice when you’re not feeling yourself or when you’ve done something and you’re like, “Oh God, that was probably not the best,” and someone just responds with compassion and understanding and just neutralises the whole thing, doesn’t make it a bigger drama or make it mean something about themselves, and suddenly having to explain that, as well as why you’re feeling it in the first place? It had nothing to do with them, and you’re sorry, but they’re so angry now. Can you imagine for the people around you how nice it might be for you to sometimes just take a moment, ask yourself, “Hang on, does this have anything to do with me?,” and then just open up a space of compassion?
This is not to justify or allow completely unacceptable behaviour, P.S.. I hope you know the type of context that I’m talking amongst here. Really, this is about giving you back your power. It’s about helping you stand in peace, in calm, in a grounded way because people are always going to be peopling everywhere around you, so are you going to be riding the roller coaster? Are you going to be personalising everything? Are you going to be making it mean something about you every single time, or can you find that place within yourself that’s grounded, that understands people are going to have their moments, that doesn’t want to jump to assumptions and get into accusations? I remember with Nick, and we recorded a podcast about it, we always used to say, “Are you wearing your glasses of expectation?”
Take off the glasses of expectation. You think you know what’s happening for me, but we’ve been together since we were 23, and now, I’m not the same person. Don’t think that I am that version of Lisa or that version of Nick. Allow people to grow. Don’t just get stuck in certain patterns.
Our relationships should allow our evolution. Are you expecting that gift from your partner, and are you giving that gift? Just a little question for you to ponder. I will see you next week. Hey, if you want to learn exactly how to start moving through the stories that are keeping you stuck and you want to delve into these self-defeating thinking patterns that so many of us have, then I’ve got a free workshop that you can go and watch right now.
In it, I highlight some of the main stories that I see women telling themselves that often lead women into a spiral of self-sabotage. You also learn how to let yourself off the hook a little bit more, because when you understand how your brain is actually working to create this, then you feel a lot breezier about your life, trust me. In this workshop, you’ll also start moving towards the things that you want by the end. I absolutely promise you’ll have a new perspective on your next step forward, and that can be in any area of your life where you feel stuck. I can’t wait for you to go and check it out.
It’s totally free. The link is in the show notes. Enjoy. Hey, if you’re enjoying the conversation, then it would mean the world to me if you head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review. It really makes a difference, and it’s my intention to get as many of us involved in real conversations that really change the game as possible. Thanks so much for your help, and I’ll see you in the next episode.