Lately I have had to come up against the topic of control. The word means different things to different people, but ultimately, everyone wants control of their own lives. Sometimes that includes control of others, resources, and of course that can escalate from an esoteric idea of control to a full blown crisis.
When you think about it though, we don’t really control very much. When you wake up in the morning, you don’t know what the weather is going to be outside. You don’t know if someone is going to punch you in the face before you even have your first cup of coffee. You go through the day and you can’t predict your workflow or how people are always going to treat you. We all know that we CAN control HOW we deal with the situations that are dealt us. We can be the victim. We can change our attitudes. We can look at the transient nature of life and decide to embrace it.
But what about other people? Think about the people who you live with. Think about your family. Your spouse. Your boyfriend. Now think back to the last twenty four hours. When was the last time you tried to control someone?
I know that most of you are probably recoiling at the thought. “Hrrmffph! I would NEVER try to control someone else.” Oh yeah? Really?
Here’s where things get dicey when it comes to control. You are in full control of the choices you make and how you want to live your life. Even if you aren’t “100% there yet” you still have control of the direction your life is going. So what happens when we bump into someone saying, doing, or simply EXISTING in a way we don’t like? Usually most of us don’t go around angrily kicking each other or screaming so loud we spit on each other at business meetings. No, instead, it’s usually quite subtle.
Someone parks in your spot. When someone uses your bathroom, they put the toilet paper on the “wrong” way. Someone does something you would never do. Someone engages in behavior that bothers you.
So you comment on the parking spot. You argue about the right way to stick the toilet paper roll on the hook. (or whatever). You suggest to someone that they might want to approach life “a little differently.” You make passive aggressive comments about someone’s diet or exercise or lack thereof.
When we lack control in a situation, we generally as humans try to find ways to correct it. BUT WHY?! Why do we want and feel that we have a need to control a situation or person or place or thing?
Control makes us feel like we matter.
I’m guilty of this as much as the other person. When I was younger it was a lot worse. My budding type A personality would not settle for anything less than an A, and the solution was usually just work harder for better results. That sufficed for a long time. But that doesn’t always work. Feeling in control is great, but what about when you think you are in control and an outcome is created that is less than desirable?
I have found that when I am at my happiest is when I let go of control. It is tempting to attempt to control people and situations in our lives, but in reality we can’t really do that. If we just let go of the idea that we can make others do what we want through sheer will power, a burden is instantly lifted.
I appreciate quotes like these because it’s a reminder that not only do you not have to justify yourself to others, but the same applies for others and yourself. Just because you are a family member or best friend or spouse of someone, does not mean that you can run their lives. Telling and suggesting someone what to do may seem like a harmless thing, but over time, it causes more harm than good.
Instead, worry about yourself. Put your best energy out there. LIVE YOUR DREAM. Set the example. Because when others are ready for change, they will feel and be pulled towards the impact you are creating. But it’s when they are ready. And some people will fall out of your life. But the ones who really matter will stick around. And new people will keep coming.
This applies to the entertainment industry as well. So many people think that worrying about a role or a project and how it will be perceived will actually control the outcome. In reality it just ties you in knots and keeps you from focusing on your joy and the present moment. So put yourself out there. Be in control of your emotions and what you project. But as for the rest?
I needed to remind myself of this today. So I thought I would remind you too. Remember, we can’t control anyone or anything except for who we are in the world. And that’s the best and only type of control we should ever really want. Because when you take care of yourself, everything else falls into place.