31 May How You Can Feel in Control without Trying to Control Others
Wow, this is a tough one!! I absolutely know, and continue to be very mindful of my thoughts and actions on a day to day basis and would say I’ve only more recently been able to loosen my grip on some elements of this – but it’s like a switch flipping if you can work it out.
My house is crazy – one minute it’s just me and my husband, then it might just be me and my two kids, and then for anything between 2 and 5 days per week it is me, my husband, and our combined 5 kids.
Having been doing this since the eldest one was only 10, and the youngest 5 (that’s 6 years ago), I got used to, in the early days, doing everything for everyone as the Mum of the house. Ultimately this meant I was sort of in charge of how the house looked in terms of tidiness etc. This entirely satisfied the side of me that is a total control freak – I wanted it clean, tidy to my standards and to my timeframe. I’ve learnt over time, especially as the kids have become teenagers, that this basically does two things:
It means I nag all the time and make myself feel utterly miserable and pissed off at my hard luck that no-one else gives a s**t if the house is a total disaster (in my eyes, however that basically means someone cooked and didn’t fully tidy up and wipe the sides. Or perhaps they left some stuff in the middle of the floor and didn’t put it away – I know, I’m a nightmare, but gimme a break, there’s 5 kids here!!).
Everyone else gets incredibly tired of my nagging, finds me annoying and I miss out on all the fun and spend the entire time ‘working’ and complaining!
Ok, so clearly a bad state of affairs.
Biggest lesson and breakthrough? You can only control yourself. You cannot change the habits of the messy person in the house.
Biggest lesson and breakthrough? You can only control yourself. You cannot change the habits of the messy person in the house. You can’t un-lazy the lazy person in house. You can’t make teenagers enthusiastic about making the kitchen sparkle after they decide they need another meal at 9pm!! But you can quite successfully make them want to do the opposite just to get on your nerves!
I cannot tell you that the mess no longer bothers me – it still does – but I’m also incredibly proud of the fact that I’ve pulled back from ruining my weekends by fussing over it and tidying it up every time it happens. After all, a house is for living in, and kids need to be kids and have some fun, let their hair down – especially the teenagers I think.
What I have found though, is that by backing off from all the things that stress me out, by not giving them a massive focus in my life, and by focusing instead on things that make me happy, I become more like the person I want to be, and my life more closely reflects the one I want to be living. I want home to be fun, relaxed, for the kids to want to be there and feel like it’s their place. And I want to be involved in that, I want to be enjoying my time, whatever number of people are here.
So ultimately, the way to be in control is to focus on the things that truly matter, to let the small stuff go, and to really take a look at yourself and how you behave.
So ultimately, the way to be in control is to focus on the things that truly matter, to let the small stuff go, and to really take a look at yourself and how you behave. If you allow others to push your buttons, provoke a reaction, you lose out. If you work out what’s important to you and focus on those things, then you are in control of your life, your happiness – a massive win!
I can’t say my need for order has disappeared, but instead of spending my whole weekend cleaning and tidying, I now get to it on a Monday sometime when the kids are back to school and have it ship shape in no time! This makes me happy, and it also means everyone has had a better weekend – especially me!
So what is it you are trying to control by controlling others, and how can you take control by controlling yourself in a better way?