by Daniel A. Miller, REDBOOK
Being a control freak has its perks. But it also has some negative consequences-fear takes over, you worry incessantly and miss out on important opportunities. Ceding control, although scary, can allow you to become more aware of the wonders around you and offer chances to improve your spirit. Here are three effective decontrol tools you can try today.
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1. Address Your Fears: Fear is the primary catalyst for harmful controlling actions and needs to be quickly addressed. If, for example, your son wasn't invited to a schoolmate's birthday party, don't fret that he will become a social outcast and pressure him to be more sociable. Over managing his life will deprive him of the wisdom that is gained from making mistakes, as well as impede his independence. Instead, address your fears by separating the real facts from the "nightmares" your emotions script. Ask yourself how important is it that he was not invited? Can he learn something from the experience?
2. Moderate Your Expectations: Expecting too much of others leads to disappointment, and it ups your desire to take control. For example, if you pressure your coworkers to meet your high standards, it not only frequently leads to disagreement, but also impacts overall job performance. One effective way to set realistic expectations is to ask yourself this question: "Is my perceived need or desire that important in the overall scheme of things?" Most of the time, it's not.
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3. Accept Your Loved Ones as They Are: In love, control breeds anger and resentment; people don't like being told what to do or how to be in matters of the heart. If your husband, for instance, has certain annoying habits, it is nonetheless important to accept him for how he is, rather than trying to "mold" him to suit your perceived needs. True acceptance enables you to focus on what you can do to enhance the relationship, such as improving your own shortcomings and attitudes.
As you begin to practice these de-control tools, you will soon realize that losing control bestows upon you-and those around you-freedom of choice and contentment.
Daniel A. Miller is a businessman, an artist and the author of Losing Control, Finding Serenity: How the Need to Control Hurts Us and How to Let It Go (Ebb and Flow Press, 2011) and writes about control issues at www.losingcontrolfindingserenity.com.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.