When driving a car, one needs to be in control of the vehicle for the good of all. Being in control is to be alert, courteous and law abiding. Sometimes a driver takes ineffective control by going too fast, passing dangerously, drinking and driving, tail gating, running red lights, yelling at other drivers, making obscene gestures, acting as though he/she owns the road, being impatient, etc.
Ineffective Control is about more than driving a vehicle. It includes interaction with people on a daily basis.
Trying to control another is ineffective and destructive. The more you try to control things outside the scope of your power, the more stress you put on you and on those relationships important to you. The only thing over which you have the power, right, or ethical responsibility to change is your own mind and attitude.
You cannot control another. One may bully, confine, coerce, intimidate, reward or manipulate but you cannot control. It is like the defiant little boy who proclaimed, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside.”
Compliance is not control. Just because you give in to another’s demands, does not mean he is controlling you. Even though you may feel controlled it was a choice you made, you just have not let yourself know it. Just because someone submits to your demands, does not mean you have controlled him. A person convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.
Trying to control another is also destructive to you. You are expending energy that is not converted to effective power. Control builds resentment and rebellion in family, friends, co-workers and mere acquaintances.
On a TV program several people were gathered around a table trying to have fun although one man was controlling the conversation and was over-bearing. A companion got his attention and said, “They want you to eat with them over at that table.”
The man, in his arrogance (which is a major symptom of ineffective control) straightened his tie, cocked his head and said, “Really? Who?”
To which the woman replied, ”Everyone at this table.”
Change your mind and you will change your life. Change your attitude and you will be in a better position to effect positive influence over others. You can set a good example they will want to emulate. You can use your words – ask, tell, make suggestions.
So what’s the problem? Parents are responsible for setting guidelines and insisting upon appropriate behavior, which can be construed by an immature child as control. In our determination to overthrow this control, in turn, we become controlling of others. It is ineffective and relationship destroying. People just will not mind us, no matter how grand our advice!
The Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I thought as a child, I acted like a child, but now that I am a man, I have put away childish behaviors.” It is time to grow up and be in control of the only one you can be – YOU.