Posted in response to the Daily Post’s Challenge : Shape Up or Ship Out
Dear control freak,
I know how difficult it is for you. I know that you don’t understand what people mean when they say – “If you love something, set it free.” You constantly worry about the people you love, maybe a little too much. You are left angry and hurt when you see people making the same mistakes that you had warned them against. What you probably don’t understand is this – every time you try taking control of someone else’s life – a part of you is bruised badly. When a friend or a loved one comes to you with an issue that needs resolution, you normally go through these phases:
You: Suggest/question the sanity of the issue. Struggle between whether to tell your loved one your frank opinion on the subject. You ALWAYS tell them what you think.
Loved ones: Agree and promise to change or disagree and support their claim
What happens to you: You are constantly of the opinion that you know everything. This causes issues.
When your loved ones agree with you, you are happy and hopeful. You think that they saw reason to your arguments and decided to do what you said. Your ego receives the pat it deserves and you are left beaming (what you don’t know is that your loved one knows your weak points and said exactly what you wanted to hear to soothe your ego. They do nothing that they said they would and they will drag you into the next phase)
On the other hand, if your loved ones disagree, you are immediately angered. One thought runs through your mind – what kind of an idiot is he/she? Why can he/she not see what I am seeing? It is crystal clear. What is confusing them?
You ask these questions to the loved one and that only makes matters worse. No one likes a patronizing know-it-all.
Takeaway: By the end of the conversation, you love them less and they love you lesser.
You: They do nothing after Phase1. You are angry and you try verbally convincing them using logic and rationale.
Loved ones: They agree vehemently and do nothing or disagree passionately.
What happens to you: If they agree vehemently, you know very well that they will not be able to do whatever you suggested because there are a lot more complications to the story than you understand. This makes you angry because these people are asking for your opinion without telling you the whole story.
If they disagree passionately, you find yourself at the receiving end of a heated argument where the person is telling you that you are “stifling” them. This leaves you hurt and weepy because you had only their best intentions at heart but you were not able to express it right.
Takeaway: If people are hell bent on doing something, rationale and logical thinking is not going to help you make them see the right way.
You: Try taking control – pressurize them into doing what you think is good for them.
Loved ones: Rebel – no one likes to be told what to do.
What happens to you: You are left confused, hurt and very angry at how unfair everything is. You then step into a downward spiral of self-pity and bursts of tears that were never meant to be.
Takeaway: A rift between you and the loved one.
The sooner you understand this the better it is. People do not like being told what to do. Irrespective of how close you are, people will ultimately do whatever they want to. It is all about free will. All you can do is “suggest” your side of things. This way you are letting them take all the shots. Worst case scenario, where a loved one takes a decision that backfires on them and they are in distress, you can do what you were always supposed to do – stand by their side and help them recover.
The more you let go, the more you are freeing yourself. Control your urge – stop thinking that people are stupid (even if they are!). Your boundary ends right after your express your opinion.
I want you to work on this because you desperately need this. I know that I can tell YOU what to do! You know why? Because we are one.