It is natural to want to have healthy, loving relationships in our lives. However one of the classic mistakes that people make in pursuing this goal is to attempt to control the behaviors of the other person. If only they would… If they could just do less of this… They need to take more responsibility for… I wish they were more… I wish they were less…
They, they, they, they.
If you ever find yourself caught in ‘they’ language you need to watch out. It indicates that you are ignoring the number one principle of relating:
It is not possible to take responsibility for someone else’s behavior or speech or emotions.
Because this amounts to control and control always brings us into opposition with reality. The reality of what is. Any time we try to control another person it will create misery.
In effect you are saying: I have an agenda and I want you to follow it. I have a preference and I want you to do it my way. I have more knowledge about what is best for you and I want you to listen to me.
It feels arrogant.
It can look like we are mothering.
You can appear bossy.
It is exhausting.
The atmosphere becomes strained.
So what can we do? What is our role?
• Mind your own business. Put your attention and energy on that which you can change – yourself.
• Take care and notice what it is you are bringing to the relationship. Take responsibility for that.
• Find out what that person might need. Look at how you can help them.
• Give that which you want to receive. Practice speaking to them in the way you want them to speak to you.
• Appreciate something they do that you like. Tell them and say thank you.