Out of control

by Rod Smith

You frequently write “stay out of control” and I’d like to know what you mean.

Thank you for the accurate observation. I also say it to my sons almost every time we part company for any length of time. I usually include that it is not an invitation to break the law or to cause harm to anyone or anything.

It is an invitation to:

  • Tell others who you are before the tell you (or decide) who you are.
  • Think of yourself as a unique individual even if you are in a deeply connected and committed relationship. Losing your uniqueness, your identity, to others, or being “swallowed” by others, especially those whom you love and who say they love you, is unlikely to be helpful to anyone in the long term (or the short term for that matter).
  • Think for yourself, speak for yourself, stand up for yourself, even if doing so upsets the people you are closest to.
  • Pleasing others by being quiet or by falling into line or by going with the flow invites others to see and to treat you as a doormat.
  • Keep in mind that we teach others how to treat us. If you accomodate or excuse bad manners or controlling tendencies you are endorsing what will probably drive you to distraction in the long term.

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