How Controlling Are You?
FROM BECKY: Last week my best friend Holly was here from England staying in my home for the week. I had the week off work and we both enjoyed a fabulous week of catching up with each other, laying on the beach, and relaxing together.
I have always known I was a little controlling when it came to my kitchen, but last week I was aware of just how much I feel the need to control what happens in my kitchen and how everything is done. At times I would catch myself checking on whether my friend had used the appropriate cloth to wipe the surfaces with or if she had squeezed the dish sponge out or left it soaking wet in the sink. I also re-stacked the dishwasher the way I wanted it a couple of times.
As I explored this subject with my friend, at times laughing and joking at myself and at other times looking for my beliefs around my actions and deeper reasons for why I chose to be this way. As I did this, I discovered some things:
First of all, I found that I believed the way I did things was the most logical to me, the safest and healthiest way to do things (e.g. “Of course you squeeze the sponge out when you have finished washing the dishes, otherwise it holds bacteria and will begin to smell, therefore needing to change the sponge more quickly” or, “I need to fit more into the dishwasher so I’m going to stack it for maximum productivity”, etc).
Secondly, I realized that there are many things in my life that it’s not useful or it’s impossible to control (e.g. I can’t be controlling in my work because I work as part of a team and it wouldn’t be effective, I also teach parents to let go of outcomes and attachments and that they can choose to be happy even when they have no control so I want to be a model for what I teach there). I also can’t be controlling in my relationship because I have seen that it leads to us butting heads and drives us apart. instead of us working together towards a similar goal. The one thing I can control in my life is my own kitchen, how it’s run and what goes on there!
I also noticed that when I’m being controlling, people back off and I don’t get help with things. Seeing as I’m nearly six months pregnant, Holly was actually being helpful by doing some things for me to lighten my load. When I was controlling, she stopped offering to help, which in the long run was ineffective because I could probably use all the help I can get right now. So I decided to create some new beliefs around it.
1) Letting go of the need to control means I am free to fully trust those around me.
2) Everyone has different ways of doing things, we each have our own reasons which make sense to us, my way is not necessarily better, just different.
3) My life will be easier and more relaxed and fun if I let go of control!
4) Having to control things means that there is a judgment there of how others will do things. I want to live my life as judgment free as possible.
I would love to hear your stories about the things that you feel the need to control in your own lives.