Being a Control Enthusiast can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Plus it's kind of like the ant trying to push the pea uphill when it constantly rolled back down, frustrating as hell! And his entire life was focused on that pea and nothing else got done. Where's the control in that?
Let’s be clear. I have a very close and personal relationship with control issues. It’s not just me, this is a family thing that seems to manifest itself among the women on my dad’s side of the family. This makes our together time so much…..fun? While we are able to laugh at ourselves and each other, it is still very apparent to anyone else in the room that they are surrounded by some very strong willed, openly opinionated women. Being a Control Enthusiast, and being related to several is only painful if you can’t find some balance and peace to go with it. Life has a tendency to knock some sense into you and make whatever necessary adjustments are needed to correct those pesky gene pool snafus. Let me share some of the jewels I learned about handling those controlling characteristics in yourself.
The Big Secret
This little gem will change your life forever, are you ready? Life Happens. That’s it. You don’t have a chance in hell of controlling it…..ever. You can make plans, be prepared, line your ducks up with military precision, organize your junk drawers with beautiful dividers, and it won’t matter one tiny bit other than having a beautifully organized home. Because something or someone will come along and change, divert or destroy those awesomely laid plans. A single Semi passing your street can vibrate those ducks out of alignment and come on…it’s a junk drawer! That’s essentially your home’s lost and found department, people will go through it….constantly. Life Happens, it’s kind of the point of having one. Think of all the things you would have missed out on if Life Happens wasn’t a truth. Neither of my children appeared according to my well thought out life plan and my current job just fell into my lap when I was very content with the old one. Plus most control enthusiasts are also uber organizers, so think about all the opportunities you will be given to reorganize that junk drawer! All the lists that will have to be revised and the new plans that will require your focus and attention, that’s like giving us a chocolate factory! What a wonderful and mysterious gift life is, but we all could learn a lesson from my GPS Chickie and be so much happier! She doesn’t like it if I veer off course, but then that cute British accent says, “rerouting” and I’m back on track to my planned destination. She wasn’t prepared for the fact that I had to go around construction and it only shook her up for a second or two, but she adjusted.
The Bigger Secret
The next piece of advice I can give you is…be a lover not a fighter. I received my biggest slap downs concerning control came with marriage and motherhood. Can you believe it? The people I loved the most actually resented my wisdom and amazing leadership skills. I actually feared for my husband’s sanity! I mean why wouldn’t he want someone to make all his decisions for him and micro-manage his every breath? But there I stood, the Ruler of Chris’ World dealing with a full scale peasant revolt! He actually told me to butt out of his career decisions….where was the gratitude? I have to tell you, that whole free will thing sucks for a control enthusiastic wife and Mama, but there you go. My entire tribe had it in aces. I had learned about how life happens, and I was mostly okay with it, but no one said anything about the free will of the people that I loved. If you haven’t been gifted with a heightened sense of control, let me help you out. Control is about trust and the need to feel safe….. well mine is anyway. It’s not that I don’t trust the people that I love, it’s more that I don’t trust them not to put themselves in situations that will get them hurt or in trouble, thereby making me go ballistic. I want my family to be safe and happy, and I didn’t trust anyone but myself to make sure that happened. But what I was really doing was wrapping my family up in bubble wrap and keeping them in a cage, it was really convenient for me, but I was denying them the chance to explore their world and grow into well adjusted adults. It’s still a controlled environment because my husband and I are here to help and offer advice. We continue to be a soft landing spot with tons of runway lights and 24/7 tower assistance. We have their backs and they had to learn to trust that, but they couldn’t build that trust if I was constantly taking over. I had to let the children that I love make their own mistakes, take responsibility for them and then learn to fix them. It’s how they will become the awesome human beings that I envisioned when they were given to my keeping. I had to let go. …it was my responsibility as their Mama. When I started to let go, my children bloomed! And my husband is coming along nicely. Is letting your control go easy? No, but honestly the last time I had total control of my kids included a diaper…wait, I didn’t have control then either or some of that grossness would NEVER have happened. So I found out I couldn’t control the people around me, but it turns out that made me a happier and much better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I’m no longer on guard duty.
The Biggest Secret
I can control myself and all things that make up Chris; my responses, my actions, my behavior and my choices. I have total control over those things. I choose what I am going to say, how I am going to act and react, and what I am going to do in any given situation. I have learned that not everyone is going to have my value system, my ideas of manners, style or integrity, but it doesn’t stop me from living my life in the manner that I choose. I can’t control what life throws at me or the people I’m surrounded by, but I can control whether or not I engage or even if I will allow it to effect my mood that day. All of those things are very much within my control, and I still make lists and plans!
The Super Sized Secret
Here it is, the super sized secret about being a happier control enthusiast…..you never really had control anyway, so deal with that. Let some of it go, loosen your grip, let some of it slide, let someone else have some of the responsibility. It’s stressful, frustrating and worrisome trying to control everything around you. I’m still a lover of control, but I’ve learned to pick my battlegrounds, or leave the field entirely when it becomes too much. I will always worry about my family, I will still offer unsolicited advice, I will still notice if my throw pillows have been moved or if my itemized cell phone bill is wrong, but you know what….those things make me happy. Being a Control Enthusiast is in my nature, but being a lighter version of myself makes me happier, because my family is happier and I’m not carrying all the weight of total control. I choose to be happy..I CHOOSE and for now that’s all the control I can handle.