What is in it for me to try and control everything – especially people? For the most part it leads to feelings of resentment because they won’t do what I want. The bigger question is “why do I think I am the one who knows best?” Who made me the expert?
I will admit I know some things, but if measured it would probably be surprising little. I can bluff fairly well. Based on past experience I can guess.
I can guarantee you that if you touch a red hot stove directly you will get burned even if you are one of those people with no nerve endings to feel it. Your skin will burn. That’s it – that is about the sum total of my knowledge.
I see other people frustrating themselves by trying to control others. I wonder if they think it is easier than trying to be in control of themselves. I can vouch for that. It is really hard for me to control me. Hard to control what I put in my mouth and what comes out of it. Lately some of the stuff that has been coming out of it is fairly embarrassing. Just FYI.
Control is different from concern.
Concern says I love you and it worries me when, it frightens me when, I feel so uneasy when . . .
Sadly you probably won’t even voice those things when you love someone. You kiss them goodbye and they go rock climbing. You give people their freedom when you love them. Be honest as best you can, but give them their freedom to experience the world on their own terms.
When they were little you could buckle them into their car seats. You made sure the stove was turned off and that pot handles were not sticking over the side of the stove. You put covers over the electrical outlets and childproof locks on cabinets. You turned the cap on your medicine bottles to the side that was childproof. You could control those things – but you could not control gravity or the need for little ones once they learned to walk to try to run and subsequently fall down.
They haven’t put me in charge of rainfall or earthquakes or landslides or avalanche’s yet either. They haven’t allowed me to voice my concern over people who don’t drive well, though you will probably get an ear scorching lecture if you drive with me anywhere for long.
Then there are the small insidious passive-aggressive attempts people make to control others. The barbed comments used to side-swipe or hit and run. Manipulative comments meant to make the person walk away and stew the rest of the day. Guilt inflicted or self doubt or insecurity reinforced. Isn’t there enough of that?
We measure ourselves against impossible expectations sometimes without consulting our own inner voice. Even in our grief among those who are grieving we look to each other to see “how we are doing.” There is no gauge.
My son was often self-conscious. In a crowd I could sense it in him. He could be easily embarrassed and his sense of propriety could be easily stepped on. He didn’t like me to draw attention to him. Funny somehow, he was tall and lean and very handsome. You could not help but notice him. And when he opened his mouth to talk, you wanted to listen. He was a man who had something to say. He exercised a form of control over me that I permitted. I liked the fact he thought he could wrap me around his finger. Maybe that softened the sense of control – I don’t know. I have lots of time now to think about it, though I doubt I will figure it out.
My daughter is tall and beautiful. She struggles with self image which is a shame because it takes precious time from other things her beautiful mind should be dealing with. She is a writer and a musician – an artist in mediums that I do not use. She is a creative problem solver. She is an overly generous spirit and gets taken advantage of. She loves to please people. She is also obsessive and can make it difficult for others to help her. I wish for a moment both my children could see themselves as I see them. I wonder if they would recognize themselves.
I know I am prejudiced – totally biased – and totally head over heels in love with them. I don’t regret one minute of the adoration I lavished on my son. I intend to make sure I don’t grow weary of lavishing it on my daughter. Spoiled? yes – why not – in what I consider a controlled manner. And having covered control previously in this entry – you know what that means.
It comes with some thorns. My feelings get hurt. I pull back from others I would like to learn to love the same way, but their behaviors and my own fear of pain of loss prohibits me.
Influence. Now that is something I want to work on. How do I influence others for good, to be wise, to make good decisions. Influence I might develop, control – I do not have.
When you assume you have control you might need to bring the whips and chains. You cannot make anyone do anything – not really – not for long and certainly you cannot change their spirit. You are fighting the wind.
It is not easy after the death of my son to make the best of things. It takes a lot of work. Maybe it always did but I just didn’t notice so much. The new days dawn and I face it with the stark reality that I really have no control – except for the illusion of those things concerning myself.
Still a work in progress.