Control. So many of us crave it. I crave it. I bet you do, too. We believe if we have control, we will have safety. We’ll finally be free of vulnerability. Of exposure and risk. No more uncertainty. No more waiting for things. Mmmm. Control. Even as I write this I’m attempting to control.
What Are We Trying To Control?
Nope. Not people. Not Circumstances. Not their feelings. Not ours.
Ask yourself, “why am I trying to control this person/place/thing?” “What do I stand to gain by controlling this circumstance?”
What do you find? Is what you find a specific result?
To be more accurate, we’re seeking a specific emotional outcome. We want to feel a certain way. We believe our emotions are results of external sources. We believe that controlling circumstances, physics, others, and even our own thoughts and emotions would guarantee the emotional result we want to feel frequently (core priority hint: anything you seek to feel frequently is signaling a core priority for you). And this type of control is. not. real.
That can be hard to stomach. Its ok if it is. Denial is beginning to collapse and your “en-real-ment” (thank you, Dena Lynn!) is happening. Taking back our power behooves us to grasp what is real and what is not.
Game Over Man! What Are We Gonna Do Now?
Glad you asked! What is the opposite of control?
Yes, exactly: Cooperation.
In what I call, “The Physics of Relating”, cooperation is how we gain the influence, energy, and action of the external world to work on our behalf AND its behalf. This ensures that satisfaction is happening. This is where relating flourishes for us. Interdependence begins to form and we can take on our challenges and dreams in a collective fashion.
I’ve outlined some basic principles for Cooperation:
- It requires an understanding of how things work
- It requires skills to be developed so we can use how it works to our personal advantage
- It requires clarity about our desired outcome (and those of anyone or thing involved)
- It is best approached from curiosity and vulnerability
In relationships, this translates to understanding what the other person wants to experience emotionally. Yep. Nearly everything we do is done for an emotional outcome (I say nearly because there’s things we do because we just do them). Knowing what you want to feel and what they want to feel, you can create a mutually beneficial plan that attempts to meet both things. This is where the level of skill and experience you have comes into play.
Critical skills for cooperation are:
- Proactive communication abilities that favor asking questions and directly expressing desires instead of arguments, demands, and controlling dialog
- Being teachable and coachable (more on Curiosity here)
- Being willing to lose
- Empathy and a willingness to maintain vulnerability
- Knowing when to advocate for your boundaries (saying no)
- Managing conflicts with calmness and clarity
These factors assist in building the bridges that help cross chasms of misunderstanding, differences in who we are, and in managing conflicts. It also leads to building strong partnerships and lasting connection.
One Last Thing Before I Fly Away Today…
Notice what I didn’t include. Its another C word. Its really common in pop-culture relationship advice. You’ve heard it from your parents. It makes you grit your teeth and grimace. Yeah. That word. Compromise.
I believe when people are engaged in a desire to first connect, we will seek out what the other wants to feel (the desired emotional outcome). If they’re also coming from connection, they will value our feeling desire too. This achieves the 3 Wins. Win for me. Win for you. Win for us. Compromise is something that can be rare in vital relationships, imo. We can work to foster and nurture each other into love, kindness, and emotional satisfaction. All we need to do is care about what the other wants ALONG with how we care about what we want. Then we can trust the other to reciprocate.
Take a look at where you’re trying to control your outcomes. Seek to see where you can be more vulnerable and ASK for what you desire. Open up to receiving from yourself, others, and the world. Look at what skills you can improve to build your ability to cooperate and add fulfillment in your life.
Reach out for more guidance on this!
Peace out, badass peeps of mine.