When assessing our own place in the friends/family aspect of our lives, we ask ourselves some pointed questions:
- Do I tell other people what to say and do?
- Am I often referred to as “over-controlling”?
- Do I lack self-control?
- Do others boss me around?
- Do I accept responsibility for too many/ not enough choices/reactions?
People who feel in control of themselves generally
- don’t try to control others. If you believe you (or someone you love) may have self-control issues, click here for some hints and possible tips.
- spend meaningful time self-reflecting. They ask themselves questions – some more difficult than others; all of which lead to personal awakening, which is the first step to growth.
Some self-reflective questions:
- What motivated me to say or do this or that?
- What do I feel when I hear ___?
- What did I really mean when I said____?
- Do I feel awkward more often than not when in the company of other people?
- Do I self-protect by keeping my finger on the figurative jugular of others?
- Do I lie to myself or others on a regular basis?
- Do I say, “I really want to be open and honest” even when I don’t?
- Do I have great friendship building skills (or do I need a few guidelines?) If you’d like a few tips on how to begin or repair a relationship, click here.
Before we can share our time and space with others, it behooves us to know ourselves. Just as there are two main goals that dictate how we spend our time – desire to grow or avoid growth, there are two main reasons why we choose to spend time with another person:
- We want to build a healthy relationship OR
- We want to distract ourselves from self-reflection
If we want to build healthy relationships, then the time we spend with others is joyful, filled with clarification, mutual sharing, learning, teaching, growing, relaxing and a wide range of positive energy experiences.
If we truly want to self-distract and avoid self-reflection, we might fear looking at ourselves honestly. If the illusion of fear is at the root of our decisions, exploring it, along with its siblings: shame and guilt, might be of value. Help is out there – and one doesn’t necessarily require a ‘label’ or a personality disorder to read articles, books or seek mental health intervention. Click here for possible resources.
Most of us indulge in denial, to some degree, as a self-protective mechanism during key moments in time. The issues arise when our desire to self-protect becomes THE MOST important motivating factor in our existence.
Joy and pain are intimately intertwined. When one’s sole purpose in life is to avoid pain, the price paid is “joy.” That IS the price tag for a ‘pain-free’ existence. To avoid pain one must avoid all risk – or adequately self-protect (multi-level experience) while taking the risk. Very tricky.
To illustrate levels of risk and self-protection:
- Level #1 (beginner) Accepting no invitations to any social events. GOAL: No risk of rejection.
- Level #2 (intermediate) Accepting invitations, going to social gatherings, and sitting in a corner to avoid interaction. GOAL: Minimize risk of rejection.
- Level #3 (expert) Accepting invitations, participating (overtly), while maintaining emotional distance (covertly – but it becomes overt if we permit another close enough to discover we are emotionally unavailable). GOAL: Minimize risk of rejection.
Playing it safe. Level #3 (expert) may be mastered by people who may even appear to maintain marriages for decades, until the partner (that is, if that partner seeks a mutual loving and positive energy relationship) moves on.
Since you have read this far, let’s assume you are a relatively social, healthy, well balanced individual. You likely strive for balance, but may not know if you are undercutting your success with certain patterns of behavior. For you, the next question might be helpful:
Question: How can I know if I’m self-destructively self-distracting?
Answer: I am if my time spent with others
- selectively includes only ‘yes’ people
- more often than not includes people who lack the ability to help me grow
- is often filled with internal (or outward) negativity, anger, frustration, hostility, defensiveness, and/or a whole host of energy blocking/energy sucking experiences initiated by others or me
Life is filled with choices. If you recognize a pattern that is self-destructive, you have the power to choose to perpetuate or discontinue it.
Responsibility is yours.
- Where there is a will there is a way.
- You are in control of your life – whether you recognize it or not.
- To decide NOT to decide is, in itself, a decision. Own it.
- If you choose to break one or more unhealthy patterns, you will begin to seek out healthy mentors.
- If you choose to hide, you can of course facilitate that desire, as well – but at what cost? What price is really paid when the decision is to remain out of balance?
Balance facilitates healing. Today, as the first day of the rest of our lives, we can embrace this very minute which provides us with a new opportunity to make choices that feed our spirit, and help to regain and maintain balance.
The more people who fill the world with balance, enlightenment, goodness and joy, the more positive our impact on the earth as a living, breathing planet of healthy energy.