We are very good at thinking that we know what is best for other people and how we think they should behave either to have what we think would be a better life for them or to make our lives easier or better.
I'd like to say, please stop.
It's not healthy for you or them.
So let's discover how Mindfulness can help you to let go of the need to control everyone and everything.
Byron Katie says that happiness comes from understanding that there are 3 kinds of business: my business, which is everything I think, feel or do, your business which is everything you think feel and do and God's business and for this just insert your belief system of choice, which is everything else that happens, war, weather, famine etc. https://thework.com/2006/09/whose-business-are-you-minding/
She states that when we are thinking that someone should behave differently to the way that they are currently behaving, then we are firmly in their business.
For us to be happy we need to stay in our business and do the work there.
The other thing to consider is that we can never really know what is best for someone else because we are not them.
No matter how well we think we know them, we cannot truly know what they have been through or what they need to experience for their personal growth.
That means that it is our ego, the idea that we know best that is driving our intention to change them no matter how well intentioned that may be.
They are not broken and need us to fix them, they are not underachieving and need a firm shove in the right direction and they don't need us to educate them.
They are exactly who, what and where they are meant to be.
We can absolutely know this because it's who, what and where they are and again, as Byron Katie says, you can argue with reality and you will be wrong but only 100% of the time.
See we don't need to agree with their choices we just have to manage our beliefs and our expectations around them.
The only thing that we can do in a situation where we feel that someone else should be different is work on ourselves.
Byron Katie says that asking ourselves the following will help us to move from being triggered by what we are seeing and thinking to finding a way to respond that is beneficial to us and empowers the other person to live their life as they choose.
1. What is the difference between what I am experiencing and what I think should be happening?
2. How does having this belief make me feel and behave?
3. How would I feel and behave if I didn't have this belief?
4. What is the new truth or turnaround?
She calls this The Work. https://thework.com/2017/10/four-liberating-questions/
We can apply these questions to anything that causes us a negative reaction of some kind and it can help us to mindfully resolves our issues by reducing the emotional turmoil and mental chatter that we would usually engage it.
This helps us to stay present moment aware which keeps our parasympathetic system activated. A by product of this is that we can think clearly and problem solve more effectively than if we are stressed or emotional. It's also much healthy for our bodies and minds and is less likely to cause further issues in the way conflict or control might.
After all, we are all sentient beings, responsible for our own beliefs and behaviours and if it is our choice to cause suffering to others or not reach our full potential then it is us that will have to live with those decisions.
Feeling that it is our responsibility to make others behave in a certain way or live differently is exhausting and as we can't actually make anyone do whatever it is that we want, it's ultimate futile as well.
Believing that we know what is best for another person is also arrogant and disempowering to the person involved.
A quick caveat here is that obviously in relation to our children, we as parents have a responsibility to guide and nurture them until they have the experience and knowledge to manage themselves but that does not give us the permission to dominate them or oppress them as they mature because we think we know best.
As parents, we need to create a safe environment where it's ok for our children to learn through experience with us to support them through the process of exploring what happens when things don't go to plan. Having boundaries in place for them to feel secure is essential but these boundaries need to be reviews regularly to ensure that we are enpowering our children to grow and feel confident in identifying, challenging and changing the beliefs and behaviours that they have observed are not working for them or the community around them.
When we have worked through the questions above, we can then calmly see how we want to manage the situation.
We may want to reduce the interactions we have with this person.
We might feel that putting and maintaining effective boundaries is the solution or we may feel that creating the opportunity for dialogue may provide an opportunity for understanding and tolerance.
For our own peace and for their growth the one thing that we want to be working towards is letting go of our attachment to thinking that we know better or that we are right and they're wrong.
We are not responsible for the way they behave, they are.
We are not responsible for the opportunities in their life, they are.
We are not responsible for outcomes that they create, they are.
We can absolutely know this because we are all sentient beings with free will and we all have the ability to choose between being triggered and choosing to respond to the things that happen in life.
I hope this helps you to examine the relationships that you may be in and your sense of responsibility or need to control in respect to that relationship.
I hope its given you a tool to help manage your mindset and responses in a more empowering way and I hope its shown you that the only thing we are responsible for and can control in this world is how we choose to interact with it.
If you would like to know more, please get in touch.