Control and arrogance go hand-in-hand when we stop to really think about it. It’s arrogant to think that we know what’s best not just for ourselves, but for everyone around us. To believe we should be able to control our lives as well as the world around us. In controlling what happens to us, we are really imposing our will on others. What about free will? Shouldn’t people have the ability to act and think for themselves? We can’t control them no matter how much we may want to, and it’s arrogant and ignorant to believe otherwise.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Women who do too much often think that it is our job to set others right. After much gathering of information and acquisition of knowledge, we really have come to believe that we can and do know what is best for other people. Since we know what is best, we have no difficulty sharing this important information with any who will—or sometimes even will not—listen. Some of us even get paid for knowing what is best for others and setting them right.
Ugh, it doesn’t look so good on paper, does it?”
When we think we know what’s best and try to exert control, we are not usually acting out of malice. Most times, we really are just trying to help people. As an anxious perfectionist, I overthink everything. I want to avoid mistakes at all costs, which leads me to research even the most minute decision tirelessly in order to determine the best course of action based on all available facts. Therefore, when anyone approaches me with a problem or concern they’re mulling over, I tend to think I have all the answers. I’ve done the research after all! And in my ever-present desire to be nice and helpful, I think, “I can help! I can fix this!’ Spoiler: Telling someone what to do or trying to manipulate them into doing it is not helping. People are autonomous and capable of making their own choices in life. We need to let go of our desire to set things right and simply let people be. That goes for ourselves as well.