Social Stress Tip: Stop Trying To Control Others


Most of us like to feel like we’re in control of our lives.  We want to think that the right things we do will bring us benefits and the wrong things will cause us disappointment.  Failure is much easier to deal with when it is solely the result of our decisions and actions.

But very little in life is done in isolation.  There are other people involved, and they all share the same desire to be in control of their lives as you.  And more often than not, their opinions on what is the right thing to do will differ from yours.

Some people understand there may be several ways to get from Point A to Point B.  They’re willing to give on certain things to get on others, maintaining the belief that in the end they’ll get to where they want to go right along with the others they’re working with.

For those people, working with others is a joy, preferable even to working alone.

For the people who can’t accept multiple paths to the destination, those who see things in black and white terms with a clear right and everything else being wrong, as a matter of survival they try to control the decisions and behaviour of the people they’re forced to work with.  As you can imagine, and as you know if this description fits you, trying to control others is an exercise fraught with tension and frustration, i.e. stress.

The only way to reduce that stress is to stop.  Stop trying to control the people around you and stop trying to control all the circumstances in your life.  Give yourself permission to fail.  Just as there may be more than one right, a failure is not the end of the world.  Not only do we learn from failure, it is one of the great spices of life.  How boring would life be if everything you did worked out exactly as you expected it would?

There are certainly things in life that we can and should control.  But there are many more that we must be flexible with.  The sooner you learn that, the sooner you’ll free yourself from the stress that ends up affecting not just your emotions but also your thought processes.  Which is to say, the more you stress about being in control, the more likely you are to make the wrong decisions anyway.

Embrace your differences with other people, and no matter how clichéd it may be, enjoy the journey more than the destination.

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