Thursday, August 16, 2007

Controlling Others, Don’t Even Think About It

My advice about control has to do with controlling yourself, not others. As much as we would like to control the behavior of others, its a slippery slope to attempt and I say forget it. There have been a few situations lately where I have seen this attempt of controlling the behavior of others fall on its face. Really, people are people, they are going to do whatever they are going to do and your choice in the matter is only how much of that behavior, if you find it to affects you negatively, that you are going to accept.

One thing I have learned over the years is that unless the behavior is completely wrong in all eyes of judgment, such as violence against an innocent party, there are two sides (at least) to every story. So even when you have decided the behavior of another is wrong, it could very likely a perception thing on your part. You may not like it but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.

Another thing I have learned is that relationships and the behaviors that accompany them are tested and then repeat themselves. So if you let someone treat your poorly and get away with it, most likely they will continue that behavior. So it’s in your control to decide what you will accept and what you won’t. This doesn’t get into ultimatums or anything like that, it just means you have the choice to hang around and tolerate it or you need extract yourself from the relationship. Changing it isn’t usually an option. That’s in the extreme and should be recognized early on, because as time goes on, it certainly isn’t as simple as that.

The other thing about control is to match your expectations up with what another person is willing to give. If you think you can arrange a situation to get what you want, realize it may not be what the other person wants. If this is the case, the set up is doomed to fail and is guaranteed to leave all with bad feelings.

In a round about way I guess what I am saying is look at the people in your life realistically. Accept them for who they are, unless of course the relationship is truly a toxic one. Realize what they are willing to give and what they aren’t. If you set your expectations of them too high you will be disappointed. Also recognize the role you play in the relationship, this means how you have treated them, how you accepted their treatment of you and realize if you want something different than what the established patterns are, you may not get it.

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