I am a control freak. I know it. The people who know me know it. And although I will fully admit that I am working on it, it is still something that dominates my life. I can analyze myself and discuss the ways in which I felt/feel the need to have a sense of control, but it is kind of a moot point, as either way, I need to change this behaviour. It does not serve me well.
And the reason that it tends not to serve me well, and something that it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out, is that I can’t control everything. Most important of all, I also cannot control other people. I have tried, it didn’t work. I can’t control the shitty driver who cut me off. I can’t control the client who needs to change their behaviours for their well-being. I can’t control my loved ones to do the things I want them to do. And I can’t control what happens in my day to day. In the same way I wouldn’t want someone to try and control me. I hate being told what to do, so I get it.
So, instead I have learned a much more helpful tool; I can control how I react to it. I can control how to keep my road rage in check. I can control letting people figure things out for themselves. I can control how I act, how I react and how much I will let it affect me.
Now, it is absolutely still a struggle and there are always going to be those moments where I do not remind myself that I have no control over others. It is usually apparent when someone is doing something that is hurtful, or upsetting or what I perceive as disrespectful. In those moments, my friend’s voice is screaming in my head; “you teach people how to treat you.”
Damn. Doesn’t it always work too.
Its one of the most accurate things that I have ever been told, and one of the simplest ways that I am able to keep my control in check.
Don’t like the way someone is speaking to you? Show them how you want to be spoken to.
Don’t like the way in which someone is ignoring your needs? Set those boundaries.
Don’t like the way in which that colleague is not pulling their weight? Continue to do your job well and lead by example.
Show people how you want, and deserve to be treated. It sounds so simple, but yet can be so hard. People learn by example, as much as we hate to admit it, there are going to be those people who don’t treat you the way you would like. In those cases, you have to evaluate whether they need to be a part of your life. People who respect you, will treat you will respect. And slowly, over time (as I have noticed), you will find the people who surround you in your life will treat you the way that you want.
“Goodness is about character, integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”– Dennis Prager
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