The Illusion of Control

6 Jul

We have very little control in our lives. We can’t often control what happens to us, we can’t control what other people do, we can’t control what we get exposed to, and basically all we can really control is our behavior. That’s it. But sometimes we may get confused, and think we have more control than we actually have. We may think we can control situations, or other people. Many of us have had experiences with people who’ve tried to control us. Maybe we’ve been the one who’s tried to control other people, or outcomes. It rarely works, but it’s a pattern for some of us.

As we go through this life we gain experience. That experience teaches us, and often helps us understand things better. Because of our experience, we may think we really know what is best for someone else. We may think we have the answers to a problem they are experiencing. And maybe we do. But whether we have the answers or not, we cannot make anyone do anything. We may offer suggestions, but their decisions are theirs to make. If we start telling people what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, and we are not in authority over them, we fail. We are not in charge of the human race. The human race gets to do whatever it wants to. And even if that turns out to be something we would never do, even if it hurts others, even if it’s the dumbest thing we’ve ever seen – it’s not ours to control.

It’s hard to watch those around us make decisions that hurt them. It’s hard to see them confused, and lost, especially if we think we know how to make things better. What we can do is offer our support, and make suggestions if they are open to them, but then, we must let them make their own choices. We can’t make anyone do things our way, and if we offer advice and they don’t take it, that is their option. A lot of people think they can tell us how to live our lives, even people who don’t really know about our lives. But the control over our lives belongs to us alone. We get to make all the decisions. And the same is true for those around us. They get to make their own decisions. Let them. We can be there if they need us, but they are entitled to make their own choices.

Today if you’re struggling with control issues – either yours or someone in your life – remember that your life is the only one you get to control, but you get to control all of it. If someone is telling you how things should be, listen and take whatever advice from them that helps you, and let the rest go. If you feel the need to tell someone else what they should do, remember their life is theirs to manage. It doesn’t belong to you. Control is an illusion most of the time. Control yourself, your decisions, your behavior, and your attitude. Let the rest go. It’s a lot easier just to carry your own load. Carry that. Let everyone else carry theirs.

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