Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to meet someone who is in every way my opposite. Normally I get along quite well with people who are greatly different than myself but through a series of situations and the circumstances, I've found myself distrusting, disliking, and completely lacking respect for this person. Because of this, whenever I interact with this individual I tighten up, take everything personally, and try to force my way of doing things. To make matters worse, we are in a situation where we both must rely on each other to succeed. 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? I've struggled for two years to find a common ground, to build respect, and to form some kind of trust. 

The desire to control others. 

I share all this because, while I normally feel that I am pretty open-minded and open other people's ways of doing things, when I engage with this person I can't seem to stand anything about them. I find myself wanting to control the situation and force my perspective and processes to get the job done. It wasn't until recently that a good friend and mentor pointed out to me that regardless of the method (and whatever stress it may cause), this person always pulls through at the last minute. My friend also told me that I am not being judged on this person's performance (or lack of). 

And it was through the eyes of my friend, I was able to see that, that was indeed true. It made me realize that I had been trying too hard to control things surrounding this person and that I needed to essentially get over it! If it all worked out in the end, I should take that as a win instead of stewing over how we got there. 

How to get over it. 

Admittedly, it's taken me quite a bit to come to this realization and to get over it. I still have very little respect for this person but I have found a small string to hold on to– they get the job done in the end. And that small insight has made all the difference. I make sure this person has all the details they need, especially timelines and then, I let go. I check in periodically but I no longer get upset at a lack of progress. I instead trust that this person will come through at the last minute. And I tell myself that if they don't? It's not the end of the world and I'm not being judged on their performance. 

Which leads me to the point of this post. If you've ever been in a situation like mine, you may have also found it incredibly difficult to not try and control the other person. I'm here to say, it doesn't work (go figure)! It all comes back to: the only person we can control is ourselves. So how do we get over the desire to control others and situations? By exploring the following things:

  • Get an outside opinion. 
    • Talk to someone who you trust to tell you the truth. A friend to listen and then offer an unbiased view can completely shift your mindset. 
  • Look for the good.
    • In this person's case, they do good work but deliver in the stress-inducing final hour. By looking for the good, I can see the quality of their work and do my best to respect their process, however different from mine. Because the point is, the ball doesn't drop and I'd do better to focus on the good instead of the bad. 
  • Honor the differences. 
    • This is the most difficult for me. This person is so different from myself but if I can find a way to honor the differences (by looking for the good and attempting to build some trust), I know there's a lot to learn from them. 
  • Don't take it personally. 
    • This person isn't out to make my life miserable or more stressed. They just don't work on the same wavelength as me. Instead of taking it as a personal affront that they won't conform to my way of doing things, I've found it better to not take it personally and to let them do their thing! 
  • Explore who you are. 
    • This is the most important thing you can do if you find yourself wanting to control others and being offended by another's actions. Take a moment to explore yourself. Ask why you may be feeling this way about the person and situation. Ask how you could change your mindset to see opportunities of growth and learning. Explore your behavior, body language, and thoughts when faced with a "need to control" situation. It's when we look for ways to adjust and look at a situation differently, that we can really grow, be less stressed, and see people for their talents- however different from our own. 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation similar to mine? What did you do to resolve the desire to control the situation and the other person? Share your story with me on on Facebook or Instagram. And don't forget, you can listen to the audio reading of the post on the Happiness Abound Podcast, Episode 34. 

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash