Wrong Belief #1:
I can control my spouse’s behavior, thoughts, and speech.
When we see this sentence written out, we may think we don’t believe “that”. But let me ask you this: do you get angry when people don’t agree with you? Do you take it as a personal affront? Do you see it as your mission to “educate” someone who is “incorrect”? Do you think all Republicans/Democrats are ridiculous and perhaps even dim-witted?
I’m sure Hitler felt quite justified in his controlling behavior. Work camps in China and North Korea strive to control others through re-education. The reality is if we think we can control others, there is really no fundamental difference between ourselves and a dictator; and it all starts with this particular wrong belief.
Have you ever had a thought pattern that sounds a little like this one?
“I am important. You can’t treat me that way. I’ll show you. You can’t control me, but I can control you. I can have a tantrum and curse because you did something I don’t like, but you have to be nice to me.”
Come on, you know you have! (I know I have…)
This single wrong belief has the power to drain us of all the fun in life.
It a macro-level believing we can control others gets us into wars. On a personal level it causes all kinds of unhelpful and often destructive drama. If we really could control other people, then we would have to police everyone in our lives. This is a huge job! Plus, there are always “those people” who don’t agree with our very important opinions. If effect, this one wrong belief keeps us at the mercy of the behavior of others.
How to eliminate this wrong belief.
The first step is to recognize it’s wrong. Next, understand we are not responsible for other people’s behavior, thoughts, or trash talk. And lastly, let us examine our own behavior, thoughts, and trash talk to see if we even really agree with ourselves! It may be time to change some things in our own lives.
As far as living with other people, if we cannot make them palatable to ourselves, we have the choice of hating them because they are not “good enough” or respecting them not because they “deserve” to be respected but because they are human beings.
We have two choices: fight to control others (as domestic abusers and tyrants do), or love the people in our lies despite their faults.
If you have been trying to control your spouse, children, or anyone else in your life stop now. You will be amazed how transcendent it feels to let it go.