Central to distinguishing an independent person is her or her concept of control. There is a saying or mantra among some circles that you are in the driver’s seat of your life, and to a certain extent, I can see how that can be the case. However, some interpret this to mean that they must extend their influence or attempt to control every one and every situation that comes within their orbit.
This is NOT control, and is, in fact quite the opposite.
Real power and real control is realizing that control over self, or control over Ego is the deciding factor between power and hubris.
“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.” ~ Seneca
It’s actually pretty easy to be a control freak. It’s quite simple to flex your “power”Â by controlling others’ lives. From a very cold, third-person perspective, there will always be a group of people willing to transfer ownership of their choices to a strong Ego whose Will will dictate the direction of the group. Extending this example, if I’m a huge control freak and find resistance among my peers when I try to impose my preferences on my social/work circle – if I’m really addicted to the need to control, I’ll find an way to switch groups – to a more malleable one.
Trying to control every aspect of a situation isn’t strength or independence. It’s actually a fear-based mechanism used by control freaks in an effort to game the system and to protect their own core. Control is also a way to keep from changing, addressing a past wound or growing as an individual. It takes one to know one and I fight this impulse once in awhile.
“I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” ~ Billie Jean King
The day that I fully embraced the fact that I am a control freak, paradoxically, controlling things seemed less important. It stung my pride to think that I really had the capacity of being a raging, overbearing Ego, bent upon cowing others. But it’s true. In my darkest recesses and most immature fibres of my being, I really do wish that people would just realize that “my way is the right way,” and it would be faster and easier if everyone acted accordingly.
The saying, “if you want to do something right, you have to do it yourself,”Â is a big fat, Ego-stroking lie. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find out that more important than the “do-ing” is to divine the “what or why”Â within the task. If it’s something that you are called to do and it’s in alignment with your development, then yes, you are meant to do this particular “something.”Â
However, if it’s a goal that is necessary to achieve within a wider arc to a higher/bigger goal and someone else may be smarter than you or more skilled at this particular “something,”Â realize that there may be other ways to achieve an outcome. Release your need to control and watch how much faster things happen.
“It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are – not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within – that you can begin to take control.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
THIS is the driver’s seat to which I alluded earlier in the purest sense. You ARE the driver of your own life, but your control extends to the inner landscape of your emotions and the external landscape of your reactions. Real transformation comes when you can move beyond being reactive and become proactive.
When you are proactive, you begin to become aware of how your previous reactions have affected your life. You begin to divest yourself of situations, places, people and circumstances that cause (known) pain. You begin to choose situations where you shine; people who bring out your highest self. Here’s the kicker: you will also experience some pains in this transition as well, but they are more like the type of pain you have after a really good workout. You know that you’ve built something and that this particular pain comes from growth.
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” ~ Albert Ellis
This is power. This is independence, regardless of your income or status. Once you have internalized that you are indeed the captain of your own soul, you are free to chart your own course. How do you define control?
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive)