Regardless of what you may have grown up learning, other people are not responsible for your emotions, and when you believe them to be, you are doing yourself an enormous disservice. The truth is that nobody is responsible for your feelings but you, and the reverse is also true: you are not responsible for other people’s thoughts or feelings.
You always have a choice in your life. You can choose to be dependent on someone else for your feelings and wait for someone else to do or say the right thing to make you happy. Or you can choose to have control of your own life, mind, and thoughts to create happiness from within. If you prefer the latter, what I’m sharing with you this week will shake up everything you think you know about happiness, feelings, and relationships.
If you’ve ever felt wronged by someone or felt that someone else was responsible for making you happy or meeting your needs, this episode is for you. I’m showing you the importance of owning your emotions and claiming responsibility for yourself as well as sharing more about victim mentality and why it is crushing you. Find out how to start taking responsibility for your emotions and why doing so will dramatically improve your relationships and help you live a more fulfilled and balanced life.
If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make this show better for you. Want to get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong inside and out? Share this podcast with a friend by texting a show link, sharing a screenshot, or posting a link on your social media, and help other busy working moms feel better and change things up.
Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you!
What You Will Discover:
- Some characteristics of victim mentality.
- One of the most disempowering things you can do in a relationship.
- The problem with constantly putting demands on your partner to make you happy.
- How to stop expecting other people to create feelings of happiness for you.
- Some key components of owning your emotions 100%.
- The problem with having a victim mentality and how to let go of it.
- Why nobody else can make you feel inadequate or inferior.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Full Episode Transcript:
You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #25. Today, I’ve got a game-changing concept that will change how you see your relationships. Are you ready to be empowered? Let’s go.
Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high achieving, busy working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer and Certified Life Coach Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.
Hey, how are you? What’s new, what’s good? So today, I want to share a tool, or a concept really, that literally changed my life. And while yes, that may be a bold statement to make, my hope is that I can offer you an idea that will help you not only entirely reframe your relationships, but also empower you.
The most awesome thing here is that this concept I’m going to describe, it doesn’t even require that the other person participate. And if that sounds really strange to you, like it did to me, hang on. If you have ever felt wronged by someone, this episode is most definitely for you.
Because we are going to shake up your views on this entirely, so that you no longer feel this way; you do not have to feel wronged, really. So, it’s going to get just a smidge personal today. In full transparency, I had a hard time putting this one together because it calls up some of the junk I’ve dealt with in my own life. And, it also called up some of the junk I’m really not proud of about myself.
But I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again here, when we are willing to dig up the really icky things that we don’t like about ourselves, and do it in a kind, compassionate way, it helps us grow and evolve and be better humans. Not only for ourselves, but for our families and the people we serve. So, for that reason, I think it’s worth it to get a little uncomfortable, and look at some of our less than stellar attributes.
While I am not proud of the way that I’ve handled myself in the past, I am grateful for it. Because I’ve learned what I can do instead. And, it’s allowed me to move past some really painful moments in some of my most important relationships. Most importantly, by dealing with some of the things I really don’t like about myself, I’m hopefully bringing my best version to my kids.
And that, honestly, is what I want. More than anything, I want my kids to feel loved and understood. I want them to feel safe to make mistakes. I want them to see that their mom is also a messy human who makes mistakes, and that in our home, we are all learning and growing together.
So, with that said, I want to talk about claiming responsibility for yourself. I’m going to call it “owning your emotions 100%”. In my coach training, they call it “emotional adulthood”, which is fine, but I just didn’t love that term, it sounded just a little too formal for me. And, I like the idea of ownership, so that’s what I’m going to run with today.
Here’s what we’re going to talk about. We’re gonna start by talking about the opposite of owning your emotions, or the victim mentality, and why it is absolutely crushing you. Then, we’re going to talk about what it means to own your emotions. Then, we’ll talk about how claiming responsibility for yourself and owning your emotions will dramatically improve your relationships, and help you live a more fulfilled and balanced life.
All right, so let’s go. Here is what I want you to think about from the get go, all right? The idea is this, I have mentioned it before, you get to choose your thoughts. Your thoughts are always optional. And because thoughts are what create your feelings, when you choose your thoughts, you are choosing your feelings.
And, here’s the thing, as an adult, you are responsible for how you feel in every moment; you and you alone, no matter what happens to you. This means that you have the authority, and ultimately, the responsibility of deciding how you think and feel in every moment. No matter what anyone else does or says to you.
To be clear, I’m not talking about trauma situations like, abuse and violence. Those are entirely separate and should most definitely be handled with a trauma specialist. But that’s not where I’m going today. Instead, I want to shout this out loud and clear: You do not live out the effect of other people. Your feelings are not meant to be placed in the hands of other people.
On the contrary, you are the one who gets to decide how to feel, regardless of your interactions with other people. And I will be the first to say, this is a hard concept to put into practice, and it is largely because we have been taught, since childhood, the exact opposite.
I’ve even caught myself doing it while parenting my kids. When one of them comes inside crying because someone in the cul-de-sac hurt his feelings. Or, if one of them feels left out because they weren’t invited to a party. We talk about how that hurts our feelings. And when you’re eight, and don’t have a fully developed brain to understand these concepts, yeah, your feelings may be hurt, because you don’t have the ability to understand yet that you can choose your thoughts.
Because of this, you let the circumstance of not being invited to a party cause you to feel sad. It’s hard for an eight-year-old to understand and recognize that he can choose feelings that won’t make him feel sad. And I’m speaking from experience here, because I have tried to no avail. Now, I realize that I have to hold on just a minute before I get all coachy on my kids.
So, when we talk with our kids about other people hurting their feelings, we are basically reinforcing to them that other people are responsible for how we feel. And maybe, this was true for you. Maybe, you grew up learning that other people are responsible for making you feel a certain way.
Looking back on it, I can most definitely see this was the case in my house. And this is an enormous disservice, because it is just not true. The end result is that we continue on, well into adulthood, thinking that other people can hurt our feelings, or make us feel inadequate or inferior. But that is not, at all, the case.
I’ve said it before, I will say it again, if I were to teach a grade school class, it would most definitely be Self-worth 101, Feelings 101. This concept that other people cannot hurt your feelings would most definitely be part of that curriculum. This is so vital to understand, but so many adults have either not been exposed to this idea, or they’ve just not embraced and accepted this idea.
So, here it is, here is a key concept to understand. We’re going to hit it head-on early on in the episode: No one else is responsible for your feelings; you are. Think about that for a minute. No one else can make you feel happy, sad, jealous, frustrated, or angry; only you can.
That is actually, really, really awesome news. Because what that means, is you have 100% control of your feelings, always. So, let’s talk about the opposite for just a few minutes, because I think this will help you make sense of this.
When we are not claiming responsibility for ourselves, that’s when we blame. That’s when we shame other people. That’s when we make other people feel guilty. When you blame someone else for how you think, feel, and ultimately act, you’ve essentially handed all of your power and authority over to that person.
If you tell your partner, “When you don’t make dinner plans for us, you make me feel sad,” you just handed all of your emotional authority over to your partner. And, that is not a fun way to be in a relationship. I point this out because they see it all the time. That is one of the most disempowering things you can do in a relationship, but it’s entirely commonplace. And it’s the stuff that a lot of romantic comedies are made of, truthfully.
So, think back to our kids. It is a societal norm to feel like a victim. We are taught this from childhood. But it gets you nowhere. Let’s talk about the concept of owning your emotions. And let me clarify what, exactly, that means.
First and foremost, owning your emotions means letting go of the victim mentality, and this is huge. You probably know someone in your life who is always a victim. Meaning, she’s generally never at fault, and people are always doing her wrong. Maybe, this person feels that everyone is out to get her, or that the world is just against her. Nothing is her fault, and bad things just happen to her.
What’s worse, when people have a victim mentality, they don’t claim responsibility for when they act out. Because instead, they blame their bad behavior on someone else. I see this in relationships all the time. If you find yourself blaming your less than stellar behavior on someone else, that’s a great example of the victim mentality.
And, there are other traits of the victim mentality. Things like, needing to be seen and recognized. Meaning, when you’re stuck in victim mode, you’re not quiet about it. There is a certain level of acknowledgement, of your victimhood, that you require in order to be validated. It often starts with something like, “Can you believe she did that to me?” And, you know it when you see it.
Or, if you see your suffering as so much worse than everyone around you, when you are stuck in victim mode, you often have a hard time showing kindness or empathy towards other people. Because you’re too busy telling yourself how you’ve been wronged and how it’s so much worse. And I see this as gloomy-doomy, with a total incapacity to see or hear anyone else’s suffering.
Essentially, it’s one-upping; “Your husband didn’t get you a diamond for your anniversary? Well, mine didn’t bother to get me flowers. Can you even believe it?” Right?
The other characteristic of victim mentality is ruminating. If you have a hard time getting over things, moving past arguments, or ruminating on how you feel you’ve been wronged, then you are absolutely living in victim mentality. I’m already starting to sweat, and this is making me cringe to even say this, because this was totally me. And it still is, sometimes I have a hard time letting go. This is one I am most definitely still working on.
Alright, so now that you understand the components of victim mentality, the point is to let all of those go. So, once you let go of the victim mentality, the next step to owning your emotions is that you take responsibility for all of your feelings, the good ones, like joy, excitement, pride. And especially, the negative ones, like frustration, anger, sadness, resentment. You own all of it.
This is a big one, and holy cow, is it hard. What it means, is you recognize and accept that you are responsible for your feelings, no one else. And, you let go of blame. In order to illustrate this idea, I’m going to use myself as an example.
So, I’ve alluded to it a few times, and I’m going to spell it out loud and clear here. I spent much of my young adult life, and even up until a few years ago, harboring serious blame towards my parents for the way I felt. I basically blamed them for everything; feeling inadequate, unworthy, broken. And I hung on to that blame with a very tight grip, because it felt safe and it felt comfortable. Even though, it made me miserable.
It was all I knew. I used their arguments, their violence, their behavior, I took all of it, and I blamed my misery on them. Here’s the thing, and I’m outing myself here, but with good reason. My parents, they are not in my life anymore. And even though they’re not in my life, I still let them make me miserable.
I’m calling myself out there, because notice what I just said, “Make me miserable.” That’s where I’m totally wrong. My parents are not the ones making me miserable; it’s me. It’s my thoughts about them that were making me miserable. They have no clue how I feel. That’s a really crazy part about when you feel wronged by someone. Often, the only person that ends up hurting in this scenario, is you.
And, it’s because of the thoughts you choose to think. So, in my own example, by choosing to think horrible thoughts about my parents, and being angry and resentful for the way they were, the only person being hurt in this situation is me.
When this was pointed out to me, through my own experience going through coaching, that was rough; it was rough. But it was also helpful. Because after really sitting with this idea for a while, I realized that it was my thoughts that could ultimately pull me out of this. I had to own up that feeling angry, sad, bitter, and frankly, hateful towards my parents, did absolutely nothing for me. And, I owned it.
I owned that I was making myself miserable, not my parents. So, instead of putting my entire emotional wellbeing in the hands of people that I have not seen in almost a decade, I took it back.
I will say, this is a process. It is not like suddenly, I said, “Okay, I own it now. All good. Moving on.” No. If only it were that easy. But I will say, my perspective is entirely different now than what it used to be. And whenever I feel myself starting to go down that negative spiral and start blaming them, or whenever I get upset when my eight-year-old, out of nowhere says, “Hey, where’s Grandma Holland?” You know, kids have a really fascinating way of doing that, by the way.
Instead of going down that road and getting really mad, I own it; I feel it, I name it, I feel angry. And, I let it sit there with me at the dinner table long after my kid has asked about his grandmother. And, I let it sit there with me until it dissipates. And you know what? I will continue to do that. It is my life’s work.
But now that I’m onto myself, and I’m committed to growing up instead of being a victim, I can do better. All right, so, moving on.
Here’s another big piece to owning your emotions 100%. I’m going to talk about this in relation to your partner, because this is by far the most common place I see this play out. I’m most likely going to get some pushback for this, but I’ll take it. When you own your emotions 100%, you do not require your partner to make you happy. Because remember, you create your feelings by choosing your thoughts.
So, the sooner you can let go of the expectation that it is your partner’s job to make you happy, the more at peace you will be. And as I thought about this, I have some ideas about where this comes from. I work with some pretty busy, very successful, high-achieving women. Many of them are working parents, they are straight-up power moms. And if this is you, what this means, is that you’ve got two full-time jobs; one at home and one at work.
I’ve definitely mentioned this before, but what commonly happens, is that for so many women who have been socialized from childhood to assume the caretaking role, both in your home and in your family and often, even at work, this comes at a cost. Meaning, you spend most of your waking moments taking care of everyone else’s needs. And then, you don’t have the time, energy or resources left to take care of your own needs.
When that happens, we then look to other people to take care of our needs. Here’s the thing, when you are not taking care of your own needs, and when you are not giving yourself compassion, and you’re not working on managing your brain to make yourself happy, how in the world can you expect that someone else will do it for you?
It’s unreasonable, unrealistic, and straight-up unfair that we expect other people to make us happy and meet our needs, when we can’t do it for ourselves. So, if you’ve ever wondered, why in the world I created a podcast that combines things like, exercise, nutrition, mindset, management and career, this is it. This is it, right here. It all goes together.
I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating; when you take care of yourself, everyone around you wins. But taking care of yourself can become a real challenge when you have a job and a family. Here’s the thing to know, when you are so bold as to put yourself first, something really awesome happens; you feel better. You feel at peace.
When you are able to take care of your physical body in a way that feels good to you. When you are able to create space for yourself to get into your brain and manage it, and take care of your own human needs, you will feel like a badass, like a rockstar. And if you are shaking your head at this idea, I challenge you to try this out.
I’m not telling you to get all selfish and forget about everyone. I’m telling you to get inside yourself; be kind to yourself and meet your own needs. You can also think of it this way; if someone else, like your partner, is responsible for your feelings, you will constantly be trying to control them. You may be trying to manipulate them to do and act a certain way, in order to make you feel better or to make you feel happy.
And if that sounds icky to you, that’s because it is; most people do not like to be controlled or manipulated. When you base your feelings on someone else’s actions, you have just given away all of your authority. You have taken yourself out of the equation; that is no good.
So, think about it this way, too; in traditional therapy, we are often taught to share our needs with whomever it is we’re having trouble with. Meaning, our partners, in this example. When you tell your partner, “Hey, these are my needs. I need you to do this on our anniversary, and plan this many dates for us, and have these kinds of flowers for me on my birthday. Because, these are my needs. And you have to meet these needs in order for me to feel happy.” That’s no good. I’ve seen this in real time.
I know that’s an extreme example, but I also had a client tell me, “You know, I really wish my husband would say, ‘Hey, why don’t you head to the gym for an hour?’ That would just make me so happy.” This was an opportunity for me to point out to her, first, her husband is not a mind reader. And second, she has 100% capacity to be happy with her husband, right here and now, whether he offered to watch the kids while she went to the gym or not.
She could choose to be happy on her own, without her husband’s input, by choosing thoughts that create feelings of happiness. And this is an important point; your partner cannot make you happy. It is not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy. Your partner meeting your needs, is not what is going to make you happy. It just doesn’t work that way.
If you are constantly putting demands on your partner, whether spoken or unspoken, under the premise that he or she needs to do these things to make you happy, what happens when your partner’s actions don’t measure up? What if your partner doesn’t do what you request? Then what?
It is entirely exhausting to try and control other people’s actions, in order to make you feel good. And, this is why I don’t love the idea of asking your partner to meet your needs. It’s handing over your emotional capacity to someone else, and taking yourself out of it.
But here’s the thing, your partner, like you, is imperfect. We are all messy humans. Your partner? A messy human trying to figure out his or her own life. So, putting your emotional wellbeing in the hands of someone who is also trying to figure their stuff out is generally a recipe for disaster and disappointment.
Why should we expect someone else to meet our needs, in order to make us happy, when we can’t meet our own? That is entirely unfair. I’m saying this from experience, okay? This is what I want you to understand; no one can control your feelings, because no one can control your thoughts. So, really let that sink in for a second. No one can control your feelings, because no one can control your thoughts.
Your partner cannot make you feel happy, because he can’t take over your brain and make you think thoughts that cause you to feel happy. And if you’re starting to get irritated with me, and thinking to yourself, “She has no idea what I’ve been through. She has no idea what he did to me,” I got you. You’re right, I have absolutely no idea what your partner or your parents or your sister… I have no idea what they did to you.
I don’t know what you’ve been through. But what I do know, is that whatever that person did or did not do, that’s a circumstance. And remember, circumstances are neutral. The fact that your partner did not text you when you wanted, that’s neutral. It’s a circumstance and it’s not until you have a thought about it that it becomes a problem. And remember, too, your thoughts are always your choice.
You get to choose what to think about the fact that your partner did not text you when you wanted. Or, that he didn’t make a plan for your anniversary, or whatever it is. You get to choose how to think about it. And that’s a beautiful thing, because it means you don’t require your partner to make you happy. Your partner doesn’t have to do anything in order to make you happy. Instead, you can do it yourself.
Here’s the concept that I was introduced to, that totally blew my mind and shook up everything I thought I knew about relationships. And, I want to share it here. So, imagine this, what would happen if you met your own needs and took care of your own emotional wellness, and your partner met his or her own needs and own his emotions, and then, together, you had a really awesome life and relationship?
Think about that for a second. How awesome would that be for you? What it means, is that you get to take care of your own needs. You don’t have to make requests of your partner, requests of them that they may not even want to do, because you’re taking care of your own needs. And, your partner does the same.
Your partner manages his or her own needs, and does not make requests or put demands on you, in order to feel happy. And together, you have an awesome time. There’s no pretense. There are no conditions placed. You’re not putting any caveats into your relationships. And what it means, is that you are responsible for your own happiness and your own unhappiness.
It also means you don’t have to expend time and energy making requests of other people. And it means you are 100% in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. This concept was entirely mind-blowing to me. And no, it doesn’t mean you come into a relationship cold and unfeeling. You’re not operating as two cohabitants not interacting with each other.
Instead, you simply recognize that your partner is there for you to love; nothing more, and nothing less. And that is a really awesome thing about relationships, whether it’s your partner, your parent, your sister, whomever. The other person’s job is simply to be there for you to love them. And when you let go of all the conditions you place on that person, it becomes a heck of a lot easier to do that.
When you come into any relationship with a managed mind, and clarity that you are responsible for your feelings, no matter what, that allows you to come into the relationship from the cleanest place possible. And, that is pretty sweet.
Here is the other really, really cool part of owning your emotions 100%; when you do this, you realize that you are not responsible for how other people think or feel, it goes both ways. So, going back to my example of being a working parent and having a load of caretaker responsibilities.
When you start to shift things, and make changes in order to take better care of yourself. And when you start to take care of your own needs, and not worry about what other people will think when you do; this is huge. And other people, yeah, they may have some opinions about it, when you start to take care of yourself. But remember, other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.
Here’s the thing, though, this does not give you license to act a fool. When you own your emotions 100% you still handle things in a mature way. You take care of yourself, you take care of your own needs, and understand that you are not responsible for other people’s feelings. But you aren’t rude.
You act in a way that a responsible adult would act. Because while you are not responsible for how other people think and feel, you are 100% responsible for how you act. So, that’s a really important concept to grasp. When we’re talking about being fully responsible, it means that you take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings because no one else is. And with that, you take responsibility for your actions. And this applies especially to instances when we are not at our best.
We are human and it happens. It means admitting when you were wrong. Or, owning up when you acted like an immature, entitled, crazy person. It means, saying you are sorry. Yep, I said it, saying you’re sorry. So, when you own your emotions 100%, it means you understand that you are responsible for the way you behave. And, recognize that when you screw up, you own it and you take care of it.
This is in direct contrast to blaming someone else for your bad behavior. And, you know what I’m talking about. I had a client who normally did the laundry and chose not to do her husband’s laundry. And when he was looking for clothes, and realized what was going on, she blamed it on him. She blamed, her not doing his laundry, on him not doing his part around the house.
That is not going to get you anywhere. When you take action that you ultimately regret, and then you blame someone else for your actions, no good. Instead, when you own your emotions fully, you take ownership of your behavior; both the good, and the bad behavior. And that is the ultimate example of owning your emotions; you own the good, and the bad. It is entirely empowering.
All right, so there it is. This is the concept: Owning your emotions 100%. This is an amazing tool. It’s powerful. And yes, while it is a lot of work, and can be really challenging to do in the moment, it is so worth it for a lifetime of peace.
For any of you who have lived at the effect of other people. Or, if you look to other people to make you feel happy or worthy, this concept will change your life. Because it’s in those moments where you take responsibility for yourself, that serious growth happens.
You always have a choice. You can choose to be dependent on someone else for your feelings. You can choose to wait and wish for someone else to do or say just the right thing to make you happy.
Or, you can choose to have control over your own life, your own mind, and your own thoughts, to create happiness from within. And I can assure you, that is entirely life changing.
All right, thank you again for hanging out with me and I will catch you again next week.
If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. And, share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media. And, be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram or Facebook, so I can follow along and engage with you.
This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong, inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better, or eat and move differently, but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up. And you know, making that change starts with how you think. And that, is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.
Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.
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