UGH! Does the news that you are not in control of the Universe just make you rub your forehead, sigh heavily and want to go take a nap??

For some of us the news that we are not in control makes us angry, frustrated and bitter…”Yes, but I know how to run the world better than anyone else!” you may be thinking. At the minimum you KNOW you can run your family’s lives better than they can: That’s why you are always telling them what the need to do, what they should do instead of what they’re doing, what’s wrong with the way they are doing things, the people they date (yep, even the ones they marry!).

And, it’s not that you want to hurt anyone’s feelings, is it? It’s just that you can see a better way for them to behave, better decisions they can make, if they would only do it your way. Right?

WRONG! We are wasting our time and energy trying to stop anyone else from doing anything. That concept runs along the lines of teaching ballet to an elephant…she’s not interested and you’re likely to get stepped on, big time.

So, take your hand off your forehead, resume steady, even breathing and go grab a nice cold glass of ice tea…I have some things for you Control Freaks to consider.

FYI, these are lessons I’ve learned the hard way. No one wielded that Universal Remote Control less deftly than me! I could see a better way to do any thing and every thing that any one was doing. And, I thought I was 100% right about my perception.

I’ve come a long way, Baby! How about you?

In my family I thought it was my responsibility to hold everything together. I once heard a speaker say there was a sign in her front yard that read “Everything is just fine, thank you very much!” (No, the sign wasn’t really there, but you get the idea…She was wielding a Universal Remote Control!) I realized that I had that sign in my front yard, too. I thought everything was “hidden” inside the walls of my home. No one outside really knew how crazy things were inside. Can you relate to that thought process? Of course I was wrong, but that realization came much further down the road!

Back then I allowed it to be my responsibility to pay the bills, work my full time job, be sure the kids were fed and did their homework. I took out the garbage, washed the cars, mowed the lawn, did the laundry, kept the house immaculately clean (OK, so that’s a slight exaggeration!)

Most importantly, I made all sorts of behaviors OK that were not OK. Since then I’ve learned that we teach people how to treat us. I taught my family that it was OK to treat me poorly.

Why?

Well, I’ve also learned that I got a huge emotional pay-off for all this dysfunction: I possessed the Universal Remote Control…I controlled everything! I existed under the impression that every thing about myself and my family would fly into a million tiny pieces if I wasn’t In Control.

I was a Victim. Even if I didn’t voice the “Poor Me” thoughts running around in my mind; even though I had a smile on my face and hardly ever spoke out loud about my “real” life, I was a victim. And, I apparently liked it because I played that role for a very long time. No one stays in a bad situation without an emotional pay-off. I got my pay-off by being the one (thinking I was the one) holding everything together. UGH!

During a coaching call, nearly ten years ago, I talked with my coach about feeling like I had to do everything for everyone, in my business and at home …how my business partners, nor my spouse, were pulling their fair share of the load, how I felt like I had to do all the calling, all the preparation, all the presentation, all the cooking, all the cleaning…I was the tow-truck pulling everyone else along.

My coach’s question was “What’s your pay-off for being a victim?”

My response was “WHAT are you talking about???!!! I am NOT a VICTIM!” I AM IN CHARGE…I AM THE ONE WHO DOES EVERYTHING!!” I used capital letters here to get across the point that I was not speaking slowly or quietly….I was furious. How dare my coach ask what MY payoff was for being a VICTIM!!? After all, I was paying her! (yep, I really did think that! LOL)

After my righteous indignation subsided, though, I began to listen to what she was saying … and asking. It was one of the most powerful hours of my life.

I realized that I had been conditioned since very early childhood to be The-One-In-Control. I learned my lessons well. Here I was, more than forty years down the road, still seeing that thin rope of conditioning as a big heavy chain around my ankle, tethering me to those old habits and behaviors I learned as a kid. I decided then and there to throw away my Universal Remote Control: The only person whose actions I could control were My Own. I was no longer held to that stake in the ground by a heavy chain…I finally saw the rope, and I knew I could stretch it.

I realized that Controlling the Universe was out of my hands. More importantly, I was never meant to have that job…and you are not, either.

Tossing away my need to control anything but myself and my actions gave me great freedom! I no longer needed to trudge up the mountain of life with a heavy backpack of “shoulds”, weighed down by my personal failure at not making everything “right” as I defined it!

I became free to make new choices and I found the experience fulfilling and joyful. Amazingly, too, nothing flew apart, blew up or burned down…N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

For those of you reading this, still with a firm grip on your Universal Remote Control, I encourage you to consider the pay-off you are getting from being a Victim. Life is full of options that are measured differently,

depending on each person’s perspective, beliefs and what is happening in that moment. You only know YOUR perspectives, beliefs and what’s happening in the moment…you don’t know your spouses, your kids, your friends, your parents, your siblings…no body but your own. Allow everyone the freedom to make decisions and take actions based on their own input. Your input really isn’t valid to anyone but Y-O-U!

Tough words, aren’t they? Difficult ropes to stretch?

I believe in declarations, positive uplifting statements. They help me get centered and they help me maintain the mind set I prefer. They help me re-program the hard drive computer in my mind. Here’s one I’m going to recommend to anyone who has read this story and can relate to my experience.

“I am powerless over people, places and things other than myself.” I encourage you to smile when you say this declaration out loud several times in the morning and several times again in the evening. Smiling dramatically increases your positive emotions…smile and say “I am powerless over people, places and things other than myself.”

And remember:

Thank goodness for that!

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