It is common for us to want to “control” other people, places and things. We often get caught up in a mental set where we are actively trying to control or believe we are controlling our surroundings which encompass others.
Control actually means to exercise restraint or direction over; to dominate, command or rule. Many believe that if we can control “things,” then we will be stable and have piece of mind.
The problem with this way of thinking is two-fold. First, and probably most important, it has a human being looking outside of himself to create inner harmony.
It has us fixing, fidgeting, adjusting, and manipulating all to get the results we want from others so that we feel good about ourselves.
The problem with this scenario is that the world keeps changing. People have their own individual nature, which can’t be changed, and we all have our own agendas. How, then, can we control anyone?
So much of the tension and stress humanity suffers from is due to the enormous effort in trying to control our external environment. What a thankless and exhausting job!
Secondly, since the beginning of man, we have had countless examples of humans searching for happiness and failing, when it is based on just external factors.
We have seen kings conquer nations only to want more. Presidents leading nations, but still riddled by the passions of their loins. Rich men clamoring for more riches. Women and men finding their soul mates and then losing their mind when their soul mate leaves them and the family unit. The dream of having a family come true, only to realize that it brings along a ton of work and often many problems.
So trying to govern, rule or dominate to get things just right will never work. If this was the way, then those with the most power would be the most happy.
We know that is not true; just ask Tiger Woods. The world bows to his talents. He does as he pleases and has what he wants. But his wanting more may have destroyed his family.
Now that we understand that trying to control others is exhausting and fruitless, let’s move on to how to use it and on whom.
One of the greatest wonders of life is that there are so many things outside of our control: weather, traffic, making everybody like or love us, controlling our own children, what people say to us and how they say it, the economy, and our death, to name but a few.
Now we have a part to play in some of these things, yet we can’t control it all. But what we can control is the only thing we need to in order to have a perfect life – and that is ourselves.
Isn’t it fascinating that there are an infinite amount of things that we can’t control? Yet the only thing we really can control is ourselves in order to have peace and prosperity.
Viktor Frankl was a Jew living in a concentration camp during World War II. He was a psychologist before he was taken into the camp. He watched his friends and family brutally tortured and killed almost everyday for years. He realized he could not control what the Nazis were doing, but he could control his response!
He came up with a therapy where one becomes responsible for his/her own thoughts and actions completely free of the environment, even one like a concentration camp. He became so empowered by being able to control his mindset that, even with the daily threat of his own life, he kept an attitude that nobody could control him except him.
It is so great to be able to control ourselves in such a way that even in the worst circumstances, we can be at peace.
Why bother trying to make anyone else anything other than who they are, when we can make ourselves into a supreme being, one who has complete dominance over his/her own desires, thoughts, emotions and actions.
“Work on ourselves, we find transformation and salvation; work on others, we find friction and frustration”.