Sunday, April 21, 2024

“You’re Not the Boss of Me!”

Everyone wants to improve their life in some way. Yet when the majority of us talk about improvement, we’re really talking about attempting to control other people and circumstances in some way. Whether it’s our colleagues, spouse or children, we wish people would behave differently just to make us feel better.

When people fail to make our happiness their priority; and it seems to be within our power to bend their will, we readily use that power to oblige them to acquiesce to our demands.

The majority of problems we experience in the world today are from people trying to control other people, because they’re not willing to accept that they’re powerful enough to create their own reality, independently of what other people may be doing.

From the ongoing military conflict in Libya, to the wars being waged in many bedrooms across the country, many of us try to persuade people to our way of thinking by using force or coercion.

The people who seek to control others are not stupid. In fact, they’re usually very smart.

They may have also enjoyed success in the past, which they wrongly attribute to their ability to control external events or people in an attempt to modify their behaviour.

However, even if that were true, which it isn’t, they become overly-reliant on coercion to improve their lives, which is unpleasant for everyone involved, especially them. This is particularly the case when they meet people whom they cannot control.

We’ve all been guilty of trying to control people or situations at one point or another. For example, some bosses may try to control their employees through fear; while other people beat, or withhold affection from their partners.

Yet none of these antics work. If they do, it’s for a very short period of time; and then the very behavior that we’re trying to stamp returns, with a vengeance!

This is because at the root of it all, we’re joy-loving, freedom-seeking beings, who came to this world to seek personal fulfillment on our own terms.

We all come from the same source, God, and none of us is lacking in any way. We’re fully equipped to become successful in whichever area we choose; and we do this by following the inner guidance of our soul.

For this reason, nobody knows what’s good for us better than we do. That principle holds true irrespective of our age, or level of education. As any young child will tell you, “you’re not the boss of me!” All people rebel when they sense a limit to their freedom.

Yet those who are trying to limit us are simply disconnected from their own power.

They’re fearful and looking for ways to assuage their insecurities. So the next time someone belittles you, or tries to make you feel worthless in an attempt to control you, recognize this, and don’t take it personally.

Leave them to deal with their demons while you work on maintaining a positive focus. Pretty soon, you’ll manage to change the situation, through the power of your positive focus.

It’s difficult to remain positively focused when we’re in the midst of a negative situation at work, or elsewhere. Being surrounded by a ‘reality’ that’s anything but positive can lead to an overwhelming temptation to focus on that reality, because we think we can change it from our negative perspective.

But all that happens is that we attract more negativity into our lives. Whether it’s more unfair treatment, or an unsatisfactory relationship with a romantic or other partner, the more we seek to control negative situations from a negative mindset, the more we exacerbate them.

We may try to use control over others as a way to increase our happiness because, from an early age, we’ve been taught that conformity and compliance is a desirable thing.

Beginning at home, then school and finally in our work environment, we’ve been taught to suppress our desires and cede control over our lives to people we perceive as having more power; people in positions of authority.

We use unflattering terms to describe those who fail to play along ÔÇô “misfits” or “undesirable elements” – anything that connotes negativity, in a bid to either change or isolate them. We create perceptions that they’re ‘bad,’ and that the way to ‘fit in,’ is to do what is demanded of us.

Attempting to control others is both futile and counter-productive. It’s exhausting and frustrating; and saps us of the energy and clarity we need to create a wonderful life.

We have no control over what other people do. In fact, the only thing we control is our reaction to them. Whenever we try to stamp out certain behaviour, that same behaviour becomes pronounced, because what we focus our attention on grows.

If you’re interested in finding happiness or peace of mind, realise that you do control your experience; and that any change you seek to make begins within yourself.

To see radical improvements in your life, accept that everyone has the right to be happy, just as you do. Allow others to live their lives in the way that is most pleasing to them; and you do the same.

Hard as it may be at first, doesn’t focus on the things that you don’t like about people; find things you appreciate about them instead. The more you do this, the more you elicit even more behaviour that you can appreciate, but not through manipulation, through the power of your focused thought.

Let go of your need to control unwanted people or situations. Develop a more positive outlook as way of drawing more things you want into your life.

It is the only and most effective form of control you will ever have.

*Primrose Oteng is a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) and the Founder of the Positive Peace Project, an organization dedicated to creating positive change through personal empowerment. For more information, please contact [email protected].


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