How do you feel when someone is trying to control you? Angry or defensive? How do you feel when you’re trying to control someone or a situation? Anxious, frustrated, or exhausted?
Control means I need to control you for you to be who I need you to be, for me. Catch that? In simple terms, you need to change so I can get what I want.
Counterintuitively, we are also controlling when we go against our truth and succumb to control to morph ourselves into who or what others want us to be. Both are an infringement of boundaries and come from trying to fill a void in ourselves from an outside source.
Why do we feel the need to control and succumb to control? To manifest, from other people, something we lack in ourselves such as confidence, self-worth, approval, and love. Control may come from trying to create an environment we desire like peace and order, so we smooth things over, make excuses for others, reinterpret what people say, or make light of toxic situations while walking on eggshells fluttering around perfecting fake peace.
We control because we feel it is someone else’s duty to make us happy, feel loved, or accepted. Forcing someone to spend time with us, act how we think they should, agree with our thinking and opinions, say what we want to hear, or do things to make us feel a certain way, is control. We try to alter someone’s attitude or actions because we fear how they reflect on us. We control to meet our needs and often convince ourselves that we are doing it to meet the needs of others.
Control comes from a place of insecurity, lack and fear. Our fear of looking bad, fear of failure, fear of not being liked, fear of not being enough, fear of everything falling apart if we aren’t running the show, fear of disappointment, abandonment, and rejection. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point, control is manifested from fear and lack.
When we try to control others, and ourselves for others, we lose the freedom to be who we are, and we are yanking the freedom away from others to be who they are. The result? We lack integrity and have inauthentic relationships built on false pretenses that breed resent.
Control provokes defensiveness and distance. We sense the negative energy of control, wrestle internally and shut down or fight back. Needy people feel threatening to us because we sense and feel their needs to control, and we naturally develop resistance. It’s healthy to express our feelings and communicate what we want in relationships, but they are requests, not demands. Ultimately people are free to be and do what they want without being forced.
When we let go of control, we gain natural connections with people. Those that want to control you, or who you’ve been trying to control, may fall away and those who truly want a relationship with you will remain. Do you really want to spend time with someone knowing they only complied because of guilty obligation? Letting go can be scary, it hurts to lose people. However, the people that love you, love you, the people that like you, like you, the people that accept you, accept you.
When we are given freedom we naturally and authentically want to please people through our actions, attitudes, and behaviors.
Transforming from Control Freak to Freedom Finder begins with focusing on what you can control:
- Your mindset. Your thoughts become your reality. Your thoughts create your emotions. We are free to interpret our world how we want and so are others.
- Your words. Our words are powerful, and we can control whether we use them to build up or tear down others. We cannot control what people say to us or about us, but we are free to translate and act on them how we choose.
- Your boundaries. We are free to set healthy boundaries around our environments, time, personal space, what we listen to, watch, and the people we surround ourselves with. Give others the freedom to set their own boundaries by respecting them and not overstepping.
- Your attitude: Happiness comes from within and is impossible to control in others. We are free to be happy whether other people are or not. Your happiness may influence theirs, but if you are trying to control circumstances to make others happy through people pleasing, you will wear yourself out trying to manifest the impossible.
- Your actions: Other people’s actions are not yours to control. We are free to choose what we do without being forced through ultimatums, beaten down by guilt, manipulated with stipulations and strings attached. We may not like and even be hurt by the actions of others, and they by ours, but we are free to choose our actions – just not the consequences!