Inside Get Coached, we go deep on relationships.
We coach you on how to best navigate your relationships and how to really enjoy them.
Whether it’s your relationship with your romantic partner, your kids, your boss, or your friend, we can all work to show up more authentically and lovingly.
Since we coach on this topic so often, I thought it would be helpful to give you a refresher on some of the most useful relationship tips we have.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to transforming your relationship with yourself and others.
In this episode, hear how to communicate your preferences without being controlling, how to give grace without abandoning your boundaries, the key to solving problems in your relationships, and more.
Interested in going deeper in your relationships? Join us in Get Coached!
What you will discover
- What being controlling in a relationship might look like for you.
- Why controlling others will never make you happy.
- What happens when you get really good at loving yourself.
- How you can make loving someone else easier.
- The key to solving any problem in your relationship.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 465.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, my beautiful friends. Hello from Mexico where it is gorgeous today. It’s so cold everywhere in the world right now. It’s wild. I’ve got a place in Scottsdale because it’s warm in the winter and I’m not there right now, but my girlfriend just sent me a picture of the golf course covered in snow. So there’s that, oh my goodness.
So I’m in Mexico, thank goodness, watching Christian play golf. So it’s lovely, lovely to be here. And of course, it’s so fun to be able to record this podcast sitting in the sun out on the terrace. It’s gorgeous.
So today, I want to give you guys some relationship tips. And the reason why I decided to do a podcast on this is because I do many hours of coaching per week and often, it’s on relationships. When I am in Get Coached, we do a group coaching call and anyone can bring any topic to that call that they want coaching on.
A lot of the coaching is on relationships, and a lot of the coaching on relationships is the same. It’s like we all have the same problems in relationships that can all be solved by the same tactics and tools and techniques.
So I wanted to do a kind of refresher on relationships and give you some tips on how to best navigate your relationships and enjoy them. Inside of Get Coached, we have a curriculum on relationships that goes much deeper into all of these concepts, but this is just going to be the tip version. This is going to be the little tips on the deeper concepts, so if you want to go deeper, please go into Get Coached and study the relationship sections there.
But for here, these are some ideas you can start implementing right away and start enjoying right away. So, the first one is stop trying to control the relationship. Now, this is hilarious coming from me because I try to control everything. I try to control the universe, I try to control everything in my life. Mostly, I try to control other people to do exactly what I want them to do so I can be happy.
So when I say stop trying to control, I am speaking to myself of course as much as I am suggesting it to you. And the reason why is because it doesn’t work and it is maddening. You can’t control other people and when you try and you fail at controlling them, you will make yourself so miserable.
And by the way, you also make the other person miserable in the relationship. So what does controlling look like? Controlling looks like trying to explain to someone how they should treat you, try to explain to someone how they should fold their clothes, or not have them on the floor, or how they should put dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink, how they should take the garbage out, how they should be kinder, how they shouldn’t be on their phone all the time, how they should pay more attention, how they should remember your birthday, all of the things that we do to tell other human beings how they could be better human beings.
Because who better than us to tell them how to live their lives? We’re having a hard time, clearly, by trying to control other people, but we would like them to behave.
So I will explain that when I learned that I could have so much more joy in my life and in my relationships when I stopped controlling other people and I started practicing not controlling them, what I realized is that I was at peace. When I let other human beings - how nice of me, right?
When I let other human beings just be who they are naturally and forget the things that they forget, and leave their clothes on the floor, and stay on their phones too long and all of that, when I just allow the world to be what it is without me controlling it, I am at so much more peace and I take more responsibility for my own life.
A perfect example of this is playing pickleball. As you know, I am currently obsessed with the game of pickleball, and this game, you have a partner that you play with against two other people. Now, when I miss a shot, my solution often is to try and control my partner so they don’t allow me to miss the shot.
And it’s maddening because I can’t control them. I can’t make them move faster, I can’t make them cover me, I can’t make them do all the things that I want them to do. But when I stop trying to control them and I say, “Okay, how can I not miss that shot?” And I don’t make it about them, I become better at the same. I become more in control of myself. I have so much more fun. I’m at so much more peace.
That’s just one tiny metaphor, one tiny example of my entire life of being able to let go of other people and trying to control them. This does not mean that you don’t communicate with them your preferences. This doesn’t mean that you don’t make suggestions. It just means that you don’t try to control them so you can be happy.
If I say to you, “Hey, it would be great if you picked up your clothes off the floor,” and then if you don’t do that and I’m furious, that’s me trying to control you. If I say, “Hey, I’d appreciate if you’d pick up your clothes off the floor,” and when you don’t do it, I recognize that you have the right to do whatever the heck you want to do with your life and I make peace with that, I can decide that I don’t want to be with someone that leaves their clothes on the floor and that’s up to me.
But that’s very different than trying to control how someone else behaves and getting all worked up when they don’t behave. Many of you have rules for how other people should live in your presence. You have norms that you compare people in your relationships to, these idealized norms that you have that you think other people should conform to.
And you make yourself crazy because they don’t. So I want to suggest, tip number one, to give up controlling and maybe do it in short spurts. Maybe do it, say, “I’m not going to try and control for this moment.” We were actually talking, one of my really good girlfriends, she likes to be in the passenger seat and likes to drive from the passenger seat. Have you met these people?
They’re trying to control the driver of the car, who is trying to control the car. And we were making suggestions that maybe she close her eyes so she couldn’t see where we were on the road or how this person was driving. And trust and believe that the person driving knows how to drive and can get us to the place without her trying to control anything.
And it was actually fascinating and hilarious to watch how challenging it can be when you think you know better than someone, or you think you can help someone, even against their own will, by controlling them. So I am very challenged with this one too, I really like to try and control everyone, and I always make myself miserable. Always, every single time I do it. So the more I remind myself to not control, the better I do at all of my relationships.
The second tip is to stop comparing. Stop comparing yourself and your relationship to others and to yourself. Here’s what I mean. So many of you say, “Well, I would never do that.” Okay, but that person isn’t you. Or, “This relationship over here, these best friends do this, this, and this, and we don’t do that, not my relationship.” So you’re comparing it to someone else’s relationship.
But mostly what we do is we compare our relationships to some idealized version of what the relationship should be in our mind. Many of you do that. This is how the relationship used to be and I want it to be like that more, or like it was in the beginning, or you’re comparing it to how you thought it would be.
And you’re constantly disappointed because you’re not experiencing the actual relationship that you have in front of you. You’re experiencing what you would rather it be. And that is never going to feel good. When you’re comparing your relationship with your children, with your spouse, with your lovers, with your friends, with your boss, you miss out on what you’re actually in the 50:50 of in that relationship. Instead, you’re constantly comparing it and putting it down because it’s not meeting some idealized version.
And one of the ways that I get myself through this is I remind myself that we’re not all supposed to have ideal relationships. We’re supposed to be in this world to evolve ourselves and get to the bottom of our emotions and our thoughts and to understand how much control we have over ourselves and how little control we have over other people in the world.
My third tip is an easy one but crazy hard for a lot of people. Third tip is say nice things out loud and often. It never gets old hearing a nice thing from someone that you’re in a relationship with, and this is intimate relationships, friendship relationships, parent relationships.
People say all the time, “Oh, she knows how I feel.” So what? Tell her again. You’re so fun, you’re so beautiful, you’re so exciting, you’re so smart. If it’s true and you believe it, say it out loud and often. One of the easiest things to do. Don’t say it with an agenda, don’t say it so you want them to say something back, don’t hold it against them.
“Well, I’m always giving you compliments, you’re never giving me,” none of that. Just, “Hey, I like what you’re wearing today.” Find the positivity in the person you’re in a relationship and tell them. I love celebrating the people I’m in a relationship with.
One of my really good friends, Aprille Franks, you guys have heard me talk a lot about her. She is extraordinary at this. She always catches me off guard. We’ll just be having a conversation and she’ll just be like, “You’re just such an amazing human.” I’m like, “Wow, okay.” “You’re just a good person.”
No matter what we’re doing, I could be talking about something related to work, or I could be talking about something personal, and if she thinks it, she just says it out loud. And I just love being around her. I love hearing her thoughts about me out loud.
And she calls me on my stuff when she needs to and all of that too. It’s not just a complete compliment relationship. But she does a really good job of just sharing her thoughts about me and what she thinks of me, which is very positive and amazing.
So I love that and I want to suggest that you do that, and I’m going to try and do that way more in my relationships. I’m pretty conscious of it, especially with my kids. They roll their eyes at me now, but I’m never going to stop doing it.
Okay, the fourth one is love yourself so you can get really good at loving. For most of us, the hardest person we’re going to ever love is ourselves. And when we take the time and energy to learn how to love ourselves, we get better at loving other people.
One of the things that gets us into trouble in our relationships is people pleasing and playacting. And when in relationships, we are trying to please the other person or be who we think they want us to be. We end up feeling very resentful and angry because we’re not showing up in the truth of who we are.
And so I always am trying to teach my clients to find out who they are, to be themselves 100%, and to love themselves in that 50:50 state of being awful and awesome. And then showing up that way with no apology.
And when you can get to the point where you really love the parts of you that are awesome and you really love the parts of you that are awful and you really love your human experience, you will be able to show up that same way for the other people in your lives and in your relationships.
That’s when you have true intimacy, when you are truly being yourself, truly telling the truth of who you are with your life, and being with someone that you can hold space for them to do the same. It is magnificent.
So I’ll give you an example. If I’m in a relationship with somebody else and let’s say I have a lot of issues with judging my body physically and I’m always in the mirror like, “I’m too fat, I’m too old, I’m not blonde enough, I’m not brown enough, my hair isn’t curly enough, my eyes aren’t blue enough,” whatever it is, and then I’m in a relationship, that patterning, that judgment, that skill of being really good at criticizing will spill into the relationship with the other person, and you can look at the other person and without even realizing consciously, you’re judging them and picking their body apart and wishing their body were different.
And maybe it was more like what you see on Instagram, or what you see in magazines, and you’ve now started comparing yourself to some idealized version. You’ve started comparing them to some idealized version, and you miss out on the magnificence that is that person in their non-perfection 50:50ness.
If the goal is always going to be to try and get to some idealized image of yourself or someone else, then you’re always going to be missing out on what actually is right now in this moment. And this really plays along with, I think, the idea of not trying to control someone.
Because if we’re just being in the present moment with who we really are in this moment, what can happen with that? I think that’s what we’re meant to do. I don’t think we’re meant to try and all be the same. We’re meant to find out what our true desires are and to be courageous enough to live at our highest capacity for what we are meant to do with our lives.
And I think by really loving yourself, you’re able to do that with yourself and hold space in relationships for other people to do that. I often say I want to be in relationships with people who help me become more of who I truly am, that push me, and expect a lot from me, and love me, and have my back.
Tip number five is give grace. Give grace to people. When they forget your birthday, when they are late, when they lose their temper, give them some grace. Now, this is not the same as consistently not having boundaries and making everything okay all the time. That’s not what I’m saying.
I’m just saying when there’s an opportunity to give someone some grace, you can still tell them, “Hey listen, next time if you’re late, I’m not going to wait but I hear that you had some things going on and I’m so glad you're here now and I love you.”
This can really change how people show up, how you show up. Can you allow for people to make mistakes without making it mean something, attacking yourself with their actions? That’s how you give grace.
Number six, be honest kindly and without an agenda. So basically what this looks like is you tell someone the truth but you tell them with kindness, and you don’t tell them the truth in order for them to change. When you do this, this is what I think and this is what I feel. Period. You take full responsibility for it. You tell the truth to people.
You don’t people please them, you don’t lie to them, you don't hide things from them. You’re just honest with them but in a very kind way. That creates the most beautiful sense of intimacy between two people.
When two people can be fully honest with each other, tell each other what they’re afraid of, tell each other what they’re worried about, tell each other when they’re hurt or when they’re angry and do it in a kind way that can be heard and not in a way where I’m blaming you for how I feel, or trying to get you to change so I don’t feel that way.
Tip number seven, watch your thoughts about them. Remember, all relationships are your thoughts between the two of you. So if I’m in a relationship with you, our relationship is based on what I think about you and what you think about me, and that’s 100% within our control.
I can decide what I want to think about you at all times, regardless of what you do. I can decide to think loving thoughts all the time and just always love you.
I’ll give you this example. This is what I do with my kids and I’ve coached so many moms on being upset that their kids don’t call them or want to spend time with them or come visit them. And I never want to be upset about this. I want my kids to come see me when they want to come see me.
I don’t want them to feel obligated to come see me, I don’t want them to feel obligated to call me, I don’t want them to have a guilt trip, I don’t want any of that. So I consciously decide to think that my kids love me madly and that we have an amazing relationship and that they never, ever need to call or come see me in order for that to be true.
And you know what’s crazy is because I’m always loving on them and giving them of course the freedom that they have anyway, in my mind, they want to spend time with me because I’m not guilt-tripping them. They want to hang out.
So that’s just one example of changing a thought about someone in a relationship that makes it so much easier for me to love them. If I was like, “They don’t call me, they don’t love me, they don’t care about me, they don’t respect me,” and I made it mean all those things, it would be much harder for me to feel loving and speak in a loving way when I did talk to them, when they did call me. So it’s just one way of thinking about it.
And the last tip I have is to decide on purpose who and how you want to be when you’re with this person. And this is a really cool exercise that you can do in your relationships. How do I want to be with my son Connor? How do I want to be with my son Christian? How do I want to be in my romantic relationship? How do I want to be with my best friends?
And go through each of them. Who do I want to be for them? What am I willing to do? How do I want to show up? What am I not willing to do? What do I not want to people please around, or where am I not telling the truth to this person?
And I think really going through each of your relationships and really making a conscious decision of who and how you want to be in that relationship and doing that consciously will really help all of these other things along.
I tell all my friends all the time that I love them out loud. When I get off the phone with them, when I’m texting them. I have a couple friends, we use the F word a lot, I effing love you, just randomly. I have friends, they’ll send me, “I effing I love you. That’s all. Carry on.” Just little reminders. You’re beautiful, I love your face, I miss your face, complimenting outfits, all those things. Just being who I want to be, but also how dependable do I want to be for that person?
Do I want to make sure that they know they can come to me for anything at any time? And is it different between certain relationship? Or is it you want to be that person for everyone in your life? The close people in your life.
So living a conscious life is really making a decision about how you want to show up no matter what. And when you are having any kind of challenge in a relationship and you’re having any kind of maybe argument or disagreement or whatever, asking yourself that question will really help.
Who do you want to be right now in this relationship? I saw this thing on Instagram and I talk to my son Christian about this all the time. In your relationships, you don’t want to be - they’re the problem or you’re the problem. In the relationship, you want to hold the problem separate and it’s me and you against the problem, instead of me and you against each other.
And just that one thought, just shifting this one thought, “Hey, this isn’t me against you, this isn’t you against me, this is me and you against this current problem that we’re having,” and then go through the work that I did in the last podcast about how to solve problems.
And then that can actually take a relationship that was struggling and make it so much stronger if you work together to solve the mutual problem versus trying to win between each other. So that’s what I have for you today, my beautiful friends. Those are my relationship tips.
Just to remind you that you can have beautiful, amazing, exciting relationships that help you evolve into the person you are meant to be, all while loving your heart out. If you want more information on relationships and all the tools that we teach on relationships, you can go to Get Coached at TheLifeCoachSchool.com because that is where we take this all a little bit deeper.
Have a beautiful week everyone. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.