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Most people chose a combination of above ways of trying to control. For example, you might be a caretaker in hopes of getting people to love and approve of you, and then you might turn to anger when that doesn’t happen. You might find yourself giving in to what people want to a certain extent, and then retreating or resisting their attempts to control you. You might find yourself being furious at someone’s attempts to control you, but then giving in anyway to avoid his or her upset with you. Or perhaps you are a mellow person until you drink, and then you unleash your rage. Or vice versa – you are nice only when you drink and you are a rageaholic rest of time. Or, on surface you might be a nice and giving person, all while pulling energetically for others’ love, attention, and approval.
All of these behaviors are intended to protect you from some form of pain – pain of rejection, of engulfment, of failure. Most people attempt in numerous ways to have control over getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe.
Yet it is these very behaviors that, as adults, are causing most of our pain. Anger feels terrible in body, as does compliance. Being stuck in procrastination or withdrawal also feels awful, as does emptiness of staying in your head instead of your heart. All these behaviors result in feeling alone inside, because they are all ways to abandon yourself. Controlling behavior is not loving to yourself or to others.
We’ve all heard that you can’t love others until you love yourself, and this is very true. Loving yourself means that your focus is on what is truly in your highest good – what fills your heart with peace and joy and a deep sense of integrity and self worth. Loving yourself means that you are asking throughout day, “What is in my highest good in this moment?” It is never in your highest good to try to control others or use them to fill your own emptiness. Nor is it in your highest good to harm yourself or others in any way.
Try practicing throughout day asking this question, “What is in my highest good right now?” Answers will come to you, and then you can take loving action. This one shift in your thinking can change your life!
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.