The Empowered vs. the Control Freak
Does trying to control everything give a person an empowered perspective?
Maybe you or someone you know is what you’d call a control freak. You or they have to redo things to their own demanding specifications.
Maybe you put the dishes in the dishwasher, and they go behind you and rearrange everything.
Maybe you make dinner for this person, and they give you suggestions on how to “do it right.”
Maybe you do a project at work following the instructions precisely, but they go behind you and redo it the way they like it.
Why do people behave this way?
To the person who feels the need to control their external world like this, this behavior may seem normal.
Maybe they proudly refer to themselves as perfectionists or the hardest worker in the room.
Maybe doing this makes them feel important or like they’re proving themselves in some way.
Maybe it makes them feel more secure to do everything themselves.
But in actuality, trying to control outside circumstances in this way won’t work long term.
Continually criticizing how other people do things just because it’s not the way you would do it is not being empowered or strong.
It’s a sign of insecurity.
Most of the people we would term control freaks feel out of control in one or more of the vital areas of their lives.
Maybe their relationships are in a shambles or they feel too much pressure at work.
Maybe they are unhappy in general and feel the need to manipulate every piece of minutiae around them, even if it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things.
Your mother in law adds ingredients to the dinner you’re making without asking you first saying she knows best what her son likes. But maybe the truth is, she’s afraid her son no longer needs her now that he’s married to you.
She does not feel empowered.
Maybe that micromanaging boss of yours is trying to control everything there at the office because his marriage is on the rocks and he feels like he has no control at home.
He does not feel empowered.
Maybe that friend who insists on buying you clothes that aren’t your style is trying to make you more trendy. Or she may just need to prove to you and herself that she’s good at something.
Does this behavior make her feel empowered?
NLP or neuro linguistic programming – a scientific way of looking at our own psychology – teaches us that controlling our own mind and emotions can lead to a better life.
Notice that definition said controlling YOUR OWN mind, not the minds of others.
You may be able to manipulate people into doing what you want for a little while. But ultimately, they are in control of their mind, emotions and actions – not you.
And really, why would you want to be in control of anyone beyond yourself?
Trying to control other people is ridiculously exhausting!
It’s impractical and won’t actually make you feel better for very long if at all.
Being a control freak is not acting from a place of strength or empowerment, it’s acting from a place of fear, lack and scarcity.
It’s acting from a completely disempowered perspective.
So how can someone in this position become more empowered?
By working on their own minds instead of trying to manipulate others.
When you stop trying to make others do what you want by focusing on what you can do for yourself, you take responsibility for your own life.
What control freaks tend to do is blame outside circumstances for whatever has gone wrong in their lives. Or for a past event which isn’t actually affecting them now.
Like, “I’m overweight because of my pregnancies” when their kids are all more than five years old.
I’ve heard this one several times.
Maybe a woman gained weight during her pregnancies. That’s normal and even healthy.
But to blame a pregnancy that occurred a long time ago for some extra weight she’s carrying now doesn’t make sense.
If she took responsibility for the habits she’s acquired since giving birth rather than blaming the temporary condition of pregnancy, she’d be far more likely to successfully lose that weight.
Now please hear me: beating yourself up for being a control freak or blaming something external for your woes will not help you.
Being mean to yourself will only serve to upset you and make you feel like shit.
Please don’t do that.
Be compassionate with yourself. Be patient with yourself. Be loving with yourself.
The only reason you would ever try to control the uncontrollable was because you thought it would work.
You weren’t trying to make things worse for yourself. You were trying to make things better.
That’s admirable. That’s good.
You were just going about it in a way that wasn’t serving you. So let yourself off the hook, okay.
Remember that episode of How I Met Your Mother when several of the characters were putting other people they didn’t like into their “pits?”
If you haven’t watched that show, you totally need to check it out!
What the main character (Ted) finally realized was that his hatred or annoyance with this person he didn’t like wasn’t actually hurting that person, it was hurting him.
In other words, the only person Ted really had in his pit was himself.
So let yourself out of your pit.
Take responsibility for your actions while being kind to yourself.
Understand that whatever might be wrong in your life is not up to someone else to fix, it’s up to you to fix.
And you can fix it.
You have the strength to do it. You have the know how – or at least the ability to figure it out.
You have the wisdom. And being connected to the divine as you are – you have that inspiration to pull from, too.
Doesn’t that feel better?
Doesn’t that feel more empowered?
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