We all like to be in control of our lives and the future. Ideally we would want to predict our future (that’s why the astrologers are in business) and navigate and control towards certain outcomes in our lives. But do we really control anything in our lives? Can we control how others respond? Can we create more certainty in our lives by trying harder?
Control – my dear friend is the greatest fallacy there is. So does that mean we are just a puppet in the hands of forces of life? Or is there something we can do to create happiness and good life?
Why is control a losers game?
When it comes to machines there is a great degree of control we can exercise by properly applying scientific principles. We can also to a large degree control our performance in early years – as in when we are school and college and our grades depend mostly on us. As we get older our world gets more complex and our effectiveness starts depending on “interpersonal skills” and what others think of us and how they relate to us. We inadvertently, continue our habit of seeking control and have difficulty dealing with people, as people don’t respond like physical things do.
Control of others presupposes we can can understand, analyze, solve the puzzle and hence impact the domain of human behavior. We feel if we can “logically explain” to someone why what they are doing is “not right” that they would change and “do what we think is right”. There is no bigger futile exercise than trying to get someone to act a certain way based on logic.
In reality all we control is our “response” “ability”. That is, we can not prevent certain things from happening, people from doing what makes sense to them (yes it all makes fair sense to them), people taking their sweet time to respond or change or not change at all.
Our key to happiness is to focus on our own ability to respond to life and life’s situation and let go of the rest. This does not mean that we never give advice, or seek anything from anyone, but we need to do that as a process of sharing our truth without getting entangled in the trap of “hoping they would understand”. We can also seek to understand the other person’s perspective and if it is not practical to find a solution, have the courage to “do what we need to do”.
Often we get trapped in the drama and almost love the drama without realizing that in the end it is not adding value to our lives and only weakening quality of our own life. Reminds me of the lyrics of “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls:
“And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive”
Anyhow, back to the topic, we need to realize, that we don’t need to participate and get entangled in others self-journey, hangups, or whatever qualities they have. Our work is simple, to tell and live our truth and make choices of how we interact and respond to others based on alignment with who we are.
At the end it is not about logic, right or wrong, but simply about “what works for us” and “what does not work for us”. Accepting people as they are and freeing ourselves to do the same way is the best way to be happy.