How often do you find yourself wishing someone in your life was different than who they are?
In codependent thinking, we frequently wish, will, and want other people to live by the how-to guides we have for them, but my love, this is simply not kind to you or them. So if you spend your precious time and energy feeling disappointed, frustrated, angry, or sad, ruminating and complaining about someone in your life behaving the way they always do, the tool I’m sharing with you today is going to be absolutely life-changing.
Join me this week as I share a super helpful tool that my sister and I came up with years ago to navigate the world together. It’s the most simple and easy concept to start implementing into your life, and it’s going to help you live in true acceptance of the people in your life exactly as they are.
This is Feminist Wellness, and I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner, Functional Medicine Expert, and Life Coach, Victoria Albina. I’ll show you how to get unstuck, drop the anxiety, perfectionism, and codependency so you can live from your beautiful heart. Welcome my love, let’s get started.
Hello, hello my love. I hope this finds you doing so well. I am excited for us to travel back in time together for a moment. So back in the mid-1990s, which seems like yesterday but is also a very, very long time ago, my sister Maria Eugenia, we are all Marias, thank you South American Catholicism.
She goes by Genie. So Genie and I came up with this super helpful way of navigating the world together. We didn’t realize we were coming up with an absolutely brilliant coaching tool but we were. So this tool that I’m so excited to share with you today is a way to live in true acceptance of the people in our lives exactly as they are.
And this tool is so simple, so easy, so life-changing, and it goes like this. “Of course they did.” We started doing this about the mean girls at school. There’s this group of sisters who lived near us who seemed to kind of go out of their way to be, let’s say, less than kind to my sister and I whenever possible.
So when one of the sisters would do something typical of the sisters, we chalked it up to, “Of course they did.” Let me give you an example of this in actual usage. So I would walk into my sister’s room and I’d be like, this gal, let’s call her Julie, said something mean about our mom’s accent.
And Genie would turn to me and would say, “Of course she did. That’s what Julie does.” And what she was saying with that is that, that’s what she does. That’s what she’s shown us time after time, again and again, that’s the kind of thing she does.
So when a teacher would snap at one of us and we’d be upset, we’d report it to the other one, who would of course say, “Of course she did. Mrs. Mack does that.” We did it with our parents and with other kids’ parents too, and now we do it all the time.
Like when the orange Cheeto was president, I don’t say his name, Genie would call and be like, “45 did this horrifying thing,” and I’d say, “Of course he did.” The reason this tool is so incredibly powerful is because it realigns our brains away from judgment and allows us to drop directly into acceptance by stating that of course someone did the thing that they usually do. There’s no reason for drama, for shock, for incredulity. Of course they did because that’s what they historically do.
It’s a way to remind our brains of our own habit so typical in codependent thinking, which is fantasy thinking. We so want other people to not be themselves, to be different because we wish, will, and want them to be. We want them to live by the how-to guide we have for them, and episode 20 is all about this.
Because we believe that we will feel safer or more okay if they aren’t themselves. And that, my love, is not only not kind to the other person, it’s not kind to you. And it’s just giving your power away. It’s saying I will feel safer if they are different versus choosing to source that power internally, from your own thoughts that create your own feels.
You get to choose that regardless of anyone else’s anything. And so we give ourselves a different option, to remind ourselves that other people’s actions are the result of their own thoughts. Not ours. Because in the moment we jump to disbelief that someone has generally, historically done the same thing in the same way, like being the mean girl at school, being unreliable, showing up late, forgetting to call, whatever it may be, the truth is that this time is no different.
So there’s no need to live in the fantasy that they will now do life any differently just because we wish they would. Expecting people to be different and then being hurt, disappointed, frustrated, annoyed, or sad when they are who they have shown you they are is a one-way ticket to, you guessed it, Resentmentville USA. And let me tell you, that whole train ride, that station just sucks.
There’s not even a Dunkin there. And it’s one I avoid by getting real. Of course they did. Instead of getting on that train, you get to live in reality and stop fighting with what you know to be true, which again, we love to do from our codependent thinking.
We’re so focused on meeting other people’s needs, people pleasing, keeping other people happy in their lives and with us that we bend ourselves over backwards to try to manage other people’s moods, energies, feelings. And so because this is our internal norm, there’s a part of us that expects everyone else to literally do the same.
And so we spend a lifetime wishing people were different, wishing they responded differently or had treated us differently, or they treated themselves differently, but it’s not reality. And of course they did helps us to remember that.
To quote the ever-amazing doctor Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time,” which is the opposite of what we habitually do. And so this tool gives us an easy way to remind ourselves of the actions people have shown us they habitually take, what their boundaries, limits, preferences, choices, and ways of being in the world are.
It takes the shock out of someone literally being themselves. It’s like our brains are so primed to chameleon, to try to change ourselves to make others happy that we’re shocked when a snarling dog bites us or stunned when the mean girl is mean. We are beside ourselves when the chronic overdrinker is drunk at noon.
We want reality to be different so badly that we forget that other people are themselves because that is who they want to be. It’s a set of choices they are making and that they will behave exactly how they want to because their think-feel-act cycle is running in their mind and their bodies just like it’s running in ours.
Not recognizing of course they did leads us to have the chronic thought, “I wish they were different,” which is an energy suck for you, keeps you and your life, your everything focused on them. And not on the one thing you can control, which is your response to them. And makes you feel disappointed, frustrated, angry, sad, so you take the action of spending your precious life, your precious time, your precious energy ruminating, complaining, telling everyone who will listen, “I’m just so shocked this person behaved exactly how they always have.”
Instead of simply saying of course they did. Of course they were late, of course they forgot to bring a present, of course they didn’t return my car on time, of course they did because they are themselves and they have shown me this clearly.
And in this life, we have two options. We can step out of the codependent thinking fantasy that other people will change because we so want them to. And from there can accept the people we love exactly how they are, or we can create additional suffering for ourselves by wanting others to want to behave the way we want them to.
It’s frankly just that simple. And from acceptance, which isn’t condoning or saying someone else’s behavior is always okay, not at all, it’s just about getting real and saying of course they’re themselves. And so we can step out of judgment.
When we step out of judgment, we can get clarity about what we want and need. We can ask ourselves, “Do I want to be in a relationship with this person who shows up exactly the way they do? The way they always have. Or is it time for a clean break, for a change, for a shift, to set some boundaries, or step out of this relationship entirely? Can I love them for exactly who they are unconditionally?”
Meaning without condition. Meaning without my stories about how they should be behaving, should want to behave. Can I step into a deep understanding of of course they did? Or do I want to continue to fight reality? Do you want to continue to not love them fully by wishing they were different? Which to me is not really loving someone. It’s loving the fantasy you have about them.
Baby, my love, that’s not kind to you or to them. It’s not honest. So the next time your BFF forgets your birthday, the next time your colleague doesn’t submit their work on time, the next time your mom makes a comment about your weight, start with of course they did. Release the annoyance, the frustration, all of it.
And do the next right thing for you and your life from there. And put your focus back where it belongs. On you and your own think-feel-act cycle, my love. Because of course you did. You put you first, everyone else second, with so much love.
Let’s do what we do my beauty. Put a gentle hand on your heart, attune to your breath, remember, you are safe, you are held, you are loved. And when one of us heals, we help heal the world. Be well, my beauty. I’ll talk to you soon.
If you’ve been enjoying the show and learning a ton, it’s time to apply it with my expert guidance so you can live life with intention, without the anxiety, overwhelm, and resentment, so you can get unstuck. You’re not going to want to miss the opportunity to join my exclusive intimate group coaching program, so head on over to victoriaalbina.com/masterclass to grab your seat now. See you there. It’s going to be a good one.