To Control or Not Control


To Control or Not Control

It drives me crazy when I just finish cleaning the kitchen and my husband sets down a dirty dish – right next to the sink and above the ever so welcoming dishwasher. Why can’t he just take two seconds longer, open the dishwasher, and put it in? I could let that burn, and get angry. I could nag and beg him to change his ways; but I doubt it would change anything. Is it worth putting the energy into such as slight issue? Does the nagging improve my relationship with him? Does it really matter?

It’s human nature to try and have control of our lives and the lives of those around us. Situations come up several times a day in which we have to decide what’s the best way to respond, and we often make the decision without much thought. Some of these situations are important and others are not; but isn’t it true that we often burden ourselves with situations we can’t control? Learning to let go of the not so important and uncontrollable situations in our lives, and knowing when to fight the more important ones will both empower us and decrease the many burdens and energy draining issues we face on a daily basis. Consider the questions below when making decisions on how to respond to situations you face daily.

Is it important that it changes? How important is the situation and that something really changes? What makes it important or not important? Does it need to be a priority? Is somebody at risk of being hurt? Are there health concerns involved? What’s the worst that could happen if you let it go?

Can I control it? Can you truly control it, and is it worth it? What happens if you control it? Is it energy well used, or is there something more important that you can focus your energy on?

How do I feel once the change has been made? Do you feel empowered? Do you feel you’ve made an important change? Have you made a difference?

How does the other person you are trying to control feel? Are others feeling nagged or empowered? Is there a sense of relief that some boundaries have been laid and expectations are clear? Will s/he be healthier or safer as a result?

Control or Let Go? After considering the questions above, is it important to do something about it or just let it go?

Keeping these things in mind anytime you feel the need to control or make a change will help to determine the importance of the change happening, and help you decide where your energy should be focused. “Alright, I really don’t need to talk to my boss about the fact that I would rather have mechanical pencils than regular ole’ pencils at my work place – I could always bring my own.” “I absolutely need to fight the fact that my child is eating only 5 foods or less.” “I want a good quality of life for my child and my family, so I will do whatever it takes to make that happen.” The above principles and many other fabulous strategies are used when working with families at Horizons, where we are always looking for ways to help you decrease stress, channel your energy in effective ways, and make life changing differences for you and your family.