If You'll ... Then I'll ...
Fill in the blanks in the above sentence however you want.
Have you heard this often?
Do you say it often?
Do you think it often?
This simple sentence is a contract that is often unconsciously created with people, and it can have a disastrous effect on your life.
Just the other day, a friend was telling me about her husband and the fact they had a weekend together without the children. She was telling me that if he brought her flowers and took her out for dinner, then she would feel loved and cared for.
Guess what, he didn’t buy her flowers or take her out for dinner. He decided to sit in and read the new Harry Potter book!
And I wonder if you can guess how she felt?
That’s right. She felt rejected, unloved, unhappy and had a generally miserable weekend.
And of course, he was oblivious to all this and had no idea what he had done wrong!
Everyone creates unconscious contracts, from childhood through to adulthood. You create conditions which rely on other people to perform certain actions in order for you to feel certain emotions.
In fact, you often create the contracts with people and then don’t even tell them about it!!!
How on earth are they meant to meet these conditions if they are not even aware of them in the first place?
“If you do … then I will feel …”
“If you don’t do … then I will be …”
I witnessed a mother shouting at her son in the supermarket the other day, “If you don’t behave then no one will like you”.
What a fantastic contract to put on a kid … NOT!
What effect do you think saying something like that could have on a child?
Or even an adult?
You cannot make anyone else do anything; you can’t force people to do things that meet your conditions. You have no control over anyone else.
The only person you can control is yourself.
If you are going to make these contracts with people, then tell them. You’ll discover your relationships improve immensely because of it. Also, you may find these contracts are met more often because at least by being aware of it, the other person can attempt to meet it.
Watch yourself and see how often you say, “If you … then I ….” to yourself. What effect does this have on your life? Do these contracts make your life better or worse?
Stop making these contracts that make you unhappy and start making contracts that make you feel great and improve your life.
What if you had a contract with everyone that said something like, “If you are yourself and do whatever you do, harming none, then I’ll like you”?
Do you think that would make you feel better?
Removing these contracts allows you to practise acceptance. You can accept people for who and what they are and what they do. It allows you to get on with these people better, stops you judging them and stops you from allowing them to hurt you.
Accept the people around you for who and what they are and remove
the contracts that you used to have. You will find that your quality
of life improves because you are not being allowing them to hurt
you any more.
(c) 2005 Jason E. Johns