In Maria’s fourth New year’s resolution of 2017, she vowed to get out of the “ridiculous business” of control. “Control: I’m letting this go,” she wrote. “It doesn’t work anyway. I can’t control what people think, say or do, so I’m getting out of that ridiculous business.”
Learning to accept and allow what we cannot change is the key. Otherwise, the behavior of control will result in frustration, upset, and disappointment, while also creating conflict within our personal relationships.
It’s important that we be at peace with ourselves and others before we can tap into the energy of passion that is required to move forward in life in a happy and fulfilling way. The need to control is counterproductive to moving forward and living a life of purpose and passion. It’s time to reclaim the energy lost to control and use it in more meaningful and effective ways.
Why We Feel the Need to Be in Control
Fear and lack of trust is behind the behavior of control. Most often, we trust ourselves but not others. This results in stress and pressure for your mind. The need for control can make it impossible to fully relax. You may feel you always have to check up on everyone and do everything yourself because of a need for a certain quality or perfection.
Let’s look at what you may be trying to avoid by using control.
- Embarrassment. Looking bad in front of others or in the minds of others threatens a certain identity you have of yourself or reputation that is important to you. This is a result of caring what others think of you. It’s natural that we want to be liked and we want others to see us and know us in the same way we know ourselves. We want to be seen as a good person. When others see us differently or in a negative light, it can stimulate our need to defend or convince them to see the truth of us. We want to control how they see us and it’s just not a reasonable expectation. We must allow others to have their opinions of us, even if it’s a negative opinion. However, just because someone thinks something, doesn’t make it true.
- Pain. If I am not in control, I will get hurt. This one usually comes from a past hurt where we trusted another person completely and were hurt or abused. At that point, not being the one in control became extremely unsafe. Sometimes in this instance, we learn the techniques of manipulation used by our abuser and begin using these methods to control others.
- Frustration and disappointment in others. You have the motto “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” If you are in a leadership role, you may find it difficult to trust others to do a “good” job or to do things as you would. You have a standard of how things should be done and very little tolerance if things are done differently. If you work alone and have this standard for yourself, that is great. If you must work with others and hold everyone to your personal standard of excellence, you may find you are frequently frustrated, disappointed, and upset. You may also find it difficult to find others willing to work with you for long periods of time because of your high and sometimes unrealistic expectations.
Each Sunday for the past 30 days, we have addressed one of Maria’s 4 resolutions for getting rid of mind habits that create stress. Sign up for my FREE 30-Day Mind Reboot Now and you will also receive a daily email with tips, videos and workbooks to keep your mind relaxed and stress-free.
Here are 3 Things that Can Help You Step Away From Control:
1. Stop caring what others think. The best way to do this is to by simply knowing who you are. Know who you are, what you would do, and what you wouldn’t do. Know your abilities, skills, and talents. Work on your self confidence, building an unshakeable foundation of beliefs that make you feel the best about yourself. You can make a list of these positive qualities and remind yourself of them often, especially in the face of others negative judgments and opinions. Think of a negative opinion about you as a poison that someone is offering to you. If you accept their opinion as truth, this poison will begin to slowly destroy the foundation of confidence you have worked to build. Just say no to the negative judgments and opinions of others.
2. Heal wounds of the past. Time to review times in your life where others were in a position of authority or power over you and you were hurt or abused by them. What words or actions did they use to manipulate you? Are you unknowingly using any of those techniques against others in your life as a way of staying in control? Asking yourself these questions will help you uncover those wounds of the past and begin to heal them. Working with a professional on the deeper issues would be a great step in coming away from control.
3. Value quality without crushing others with control. Having a personal value on the quality of the work that you produce is honorable. Where stress is created, you expect that others should do things exactly the way you would. This will create stress for you and destroy confidence for them. People are always more important than products or results. Most people who want to work for you or with you just want to please you. They don’t join your team because they want to sabotage your efforts or destroy your reputation. They are not out to get you or make you look bad. If you are working as a team, support them to feel confident and they will give you their highest quality of work. If their highest quality work is not what you are looking for, find someone else. If you destroy their confidence because they don’t meet your expectations, then they will operate from fear and do poor quality work. Provide others with a supportive environment that boost their confidence levels in themselves. Understanding your need for control and who is impacted by this need will help you achieve a new approach to life and offer an opportunity for relaxing and enjoying your creations and team work instead of creating stress around them.
For more detailed information on how to let go of the need for control in your life and many other common topics of the mind, sign up for my full 30-day Mind Reboot. Following a 30-day plan full of tips, videos, workbooks and other resources can really help you to change your mind in ways that will support your freedom, empowerment and happiness. It’s 100 percent free. I hope to see you there!