Have you ever thought that you could control your life and that of others? It seems as if we are conditioned in our society with this mindset. If we think about setting goals, priorities and achieving our dreams, our society in the United States encourages individual achievement and assumes that if we try hard enough, we have the ability to control what happens in our lives. Often times, we are encouraged to set goals and check off our goals from our lists when we accomplish them. I am not saying that this is a bad practice, but my experience has been that we cannot control everything in our lives, as we don’t live in a bubble, nor do we have that divine power to control how people and events around us will relate and react.
Yet it seems when it comes to personal relationships, we often still try to control each other in some way, particularly when things don’t go our way. We assume often that the other partner thinks and feels the same way as we do, so we expect our partner to react the way we would. And when that person doesn’t react in the way that we hope them to, we may feel disappointed, angry, or frustrated. We may even say or do things that we really don’t mean, because we are afraid.
We may be afraid of losing that person, of being rejected, abandoned or not accepted in some way. Often times, it is our insecurities about our relationship and about ourselves that lend us to feel that we have some control over a situation. We act out in fear; saying things or doing things that we really don’t mean, when our partner isn’t responding the way we had in mind. Rather than acting with love toward our partner, we attempt to make it right, better, or fix it with our attempt to control it.
Sometimes people give ultimatums about the relationship, if their partner doesn’t do or think or say things their way. Ultimatums serve no real good purpose for either party, as they are rooted in fear. It’s as if we have a preconceived notion of how to get the result we want and we think we can force a person into our way of reaching that end result.
Fear can keep us from taking the risks in life that will lead us to happiness. How many times have you heard someone say that they’re afraid to love again because they got so hurt in the past? How many people have you met that withhold a piece of themselves, for fear of getting hurt again? Perhaps you are one of those people.
Fear can prevent a relationship from developing into a meaningful, deep connection between two people who love each other if one person is too fearful of letting go and opening up their heart to the other. Fear can stop the creation of a deeper intimacy with our partners because of the wounds within ourselves that were never healed.
That is when love becomes so critical. We must learn to love ourselves as well as others, especially when they do or say things that irritate or frighten us. We must learn to forgive. Forgiveness is a big part of love. We not only need to forgive our partners, but also ourselves. We can do this by acting in love, especially in times of disagreements with one another. The more we act in love, the more we can help our partner and ourselves to love and be loved.
So what areas in your relationships are you still trying to control? Take a good look at what message you are giving your significant other. Is this how you would like to be treated? If your answer is no, try to examine what you are afraid of. What part of you is hurting, fearful and so desperate that you feel you need to take control? The answers to these questions will help you better love yourself, allowing you to better love your partner. You may even try expressing your fears to your partner. Love your relationship enough to take the risk, rid yourself of the fear and take a step forward in love. You will be glad you did and your relationship will be stronger in the long run.