of us never would admit that we try to control other
people. We might say that we're just giving advice
or just doing something "for their own good,"
but we certainly wouldn't say that we're trying to control
another person's actions or thoughts or reactions.
But somehow we learn that one of the ways to happiness is
to "make" other people happy, rather than
allowing them to be themselves and live their lives on
their own terms.
is an approach that's doomed to lead us to frustration and
despair and anger and many other emotions--but not to
happiness. If someone else does what we tell them to
we may feel a momentary sense of satisfaction because
we've "helped" them, but we usually don't stop
and ask ourselves just why the person acted so. Were
they just trying to make us stop meddling? Did we
intimidate them? Are they afraid of us? If any
of these things are true, then our help wasn't really
help, was it?
took me a long time to recognize that sometimes my
"helpfulness" was a form of control. If I
told someone to do something in a certain way and they did
it, I had a satisfied feeling that I had helped, but I did
not allow them to do something their own way.
something important about allowing other people to do
things in their own ways--and learning from what they do
and how they do it. When we can accept that they do
have their own ways and methods and accept them for
exactly who and what they are, our lives become richer and
we find much less unhappiness in our own lives.