It is hard to find the words to even express how frustrating it is not to be able to control the path of our relationships with other humans. Most of us just live in denial when it comes to this subject altogether; but think about it. When are we happy? We are happy when we get what we want and other people do what we want them to do. Simple.
Now the tough question: when are we unhappy? We are unhappy when we don’t get what we want and other people don’t do what we want. Ok fine – so what’s the point?
When you are young, life is about learning lessons – interacting with the people in your life whether they be your family, or friends, or coworkers, or strangers in the street and learning from these interactions both the good and the bad. And the truth is, that while our body ages, most people really never evolve out of this learning stage on the inside. They continually try to control and manipulate the behavior of others to keep people dependant on them and to bolster their own egos. This can be especially true with family relationships when it comes to the subjects of love and money.
And left unchecked, the temptation to intensify this behavior just increases with age: How many people do you know who have disowned a family member because they did not live their behavior? How many people do you know who can’t have a family gathering without the same people getting into a heated argument over something trivial? How many people do you know who have allocated the bequests in their will based on who they liked the best?
But is this how it has to be? What would happen if we had the confidence and self-discipline to allow the people in our lives to simply be themselves around us? What would happen if instead of trying to control them, we simply listened to what they had to say and tried to offer a few words of encouragement; or just smiled quietly to ourselves while they told some outrageous tale and then said “thank you for telling me what you have been up to, come back and see me soon.”
What would happen? The odds are your relationships with these people would change. I cannot say how things would be different but I guarantee they would be different. Yes, the people who were simply trying to antagonize you would disappear because you were no longer behaving the way that they wanted (but do you really need this anyway?) but new relationships would appear in their place with people who had avoided your cantankerous behaviour before (yes – avoided).
The big question is – are you ready and willing to change the nature of your relationships and welcome people into your life “as they are”, instead of who you are trying to force them to be?