Self Improvement: Relinquishing Control

My journey to starting my new career is a fairly new ambition of mine (although I have been thinking about it since the day I left my first job. However for the last couple years, I have tried doing things to better myself as a person, often time I fall flat. Whether it be going to the gym more, eating right, working on my temper or something else: I am able to make it work for a short period before I fall back to my old ways. In the last year, it has dawned on me that I have been going about it all wrong. I focus on the wrong things to change and how I go about it.

Last year in the process of selling our house, living with my in-laws, buying a new house, starting a new job, and.. a few other things, I realized how difficult I can be to be around sometimes. Sure part of this was unhappiness, that likely stems from my career choices. But I also fall victim to different characteristics of mine that get the better of me and make me a pain in the ass. My plan here, along my journey to a new career, is to also document some of the self improvement tasks I am working on. Characteristics that can make me difficult to be around, or make me a worse person, and how I am working to better myself (and ultimately those around me). This blog is about my journey to starting a new career and inspiring others along the way. My journey involves much more than just the career choice, but life choices as well, as everything is related and builds off each other. So with that, today’s topic is: I am a control freak

Now, I shouldn’t really say I am a control freak, as I can be fairly laid back and easy going. But I do like things done a certain way. And I can be very defensive and manipulative when it comes to things I want done a certain way. There is something about knowing what is going on and having a sense of control to a situation. In reality, I tend to get more controlling over things I am passionate about: my kids, my marriage, my friends, my house, etc.

Being in control, and wanting to be in control and not generally a bad thing, I would usually not list that as a characteristic that could make me hard to get along with. However, I tend to take it too far. If things are not done my way, I get extremely argumentative (that is a topic for another day) and defensive and tend to not back down. I become irrational and do not listen to what others have to say. Hell, even after I know I am wrong I will stick to my guns (stubborn.. yet another topic perhaps), I will argue and argue till I get my way, that way I can stay in control of the situation. Sometimes, it is not very obvious. I tend to manipulate people (or try) to do things I want. For instance, if my wife happens to leave dishes in the sink and I have been putting mine away, I may passive aggressively say something like “WE need to be better about putting our dishes away.” I Obviously mean ‘YOU’ as I have been putting mine away (and this is probably a bad analogy, as I am more likely to not put my dishes away… shhhhh…). Sure sometimes, I do mean ‘WE,” but often times, I mean ‘YOU,’ and lets be honest, that is not fair, regardless of who I am dealing with.

So the real question is, how do I work on this? I am still a work in progress, but here are some of the things I am doing to better myself and Relinquish Control:

  1. Discuss the issues as they come up with my therapist
  2. Take a deep breath and try to understand where others are coming from
  3. Ask myself why do I feel the need to be in control here
  4. Let others lead. I am not always right (I am hardly right)
  5. Exercise. Exercising allows me to release any pent up aggression
  6. Practice letting others win. As I don’t always have to be right, perhaps let someone else “win” even when I know I am right (its good practice
  7. Last, and probably most important: Listen. Listen to what others are saying and doing. Everything else listed above can come after I listen, and understand

Perhaps not everything listed here is truly about relinquishing control. Perhaps a lot of my other issues I need to work on are highlighted more-so here than intended. But the main point here is, is that I am a work in progress. I have identified areas of my life that need to be improved, for not only myself but those around me. This is one big journey to a better me.

Do you also have issues with control and having to own the situation? Share some of your experiences and how you practice relinquishing control, below.

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