When I was in my early thirties, my (then) husband and I used to enjoy game night with a couple close to us. Every month or so, with children near the same ages we’d get them down for the evening and the adults would play cards or enjoy games. It was one of those times when we were setting up a board game we had never played. I reached over my friend’s husband and said, “Let me see the instructions. I’ll figure out how to play.” To which he replied, “Of course you will, you take control over everything.” We both laughed. But throughout the night those words kept ringing in my head, “you take control over everything.”
Even into the next day I kept asking myself why it bothered me so? Was he being truthful or speaking in jest? Am I really a take control person? Is that what people truly think of me? Is that a good thing or a bad one? Although the questions engulfed me the answers were scarce.
At that point in my life I was seeking counseling advice for past issues and I mentioned to my therapist the scenario, how it made me feel and how I reacted. “Do you think I am a control freak?” I asked her. To which she responded. “That’s up to you. You get to decide.” We examined some previous moments in my life where I felt I had no voice, say or control and discovered perhaps I had adapted this trait as a means of survival, of being accepted, heard and so forth. It wasn’t until nearly twenty years later that it occurred to me that where some may consider it control, others might view it as leadership. Some may see flaws, other’s quirks.
For example, I know several people that are always late. They simply can’t help it. No matter how hard they try they simply cannot arrive on time. We all know someone like that. Yet, we love them. We accept them. We schedule things around them and their idiosyncrasies. In fact, if we need them to arrive at 1, we tell them to be there at 12. I think we’ve all done it. It doesn’t mean we don’t love, appreciate or respect them. In fact, all these particular people in my life give 100% once they arrive. We deal because we simply know this is a part of who they are. Not good, not bad, it just is.
That is how I began to look at my need to be in control, to take the lead. See, my therapist was correct in the fact that I got to choose. By my friend saying those words, I was able to examine myself and come to a well thought out conclusion as to if I wanted to be identified by that trait. Do I want to be considered someone who takes control? I scrutinized every aspect of what exactly that meant. And in doing so I realized how much I appreciated my friend for his honesty and forthright, for speaking those words so nonchalantly. Had we not been as close as we were, he may never have felt comfortable enough to utter them. The realization that he accepted me despite my (then) undiscovered need to control, spoke volumes and the gratitude outweighed the offense and anguish I had experienced formerly.
People are different. Relationships are difficult. Real ones are rare. Yes, people will hurt, offend or even anger us and we will, perhaps even unintentionally, do the same to them. But Girl, it’s time to focus on the sparkle. Be thankful for the relationships that speak out of true honesty. Sacrificing a special and pure relationship to speak the reality. Embrace the courage it takes them to shine a light on some thinkable self-examination. But remember ultimately you get to choose whether to continue or to change.
I’m not suggesting you conform to the world. Quite the opposite. We all know you cannot please everyone. Remember, you can be the juiciest peach in Georgia and not everyone likes peaches. Ultimately, at the end of the day, you are accountable to you alone. But I encourage you to be who you are. Stay true to you. Be so authentic that if anyone hears of you in a derogatory manner they say, “That doesn’t sound like them.” But occasionally listen to the outside world of those who care for you despite your quirks and ask yourself, “Am I really like that?”
Better yet, “Am I okay with it?”
© c. michelle bryant
Michelle Bryant is an entrepreneur, nationally acclaimed award-winning artist, inspirational speaker, self-published author of five books available at most online retailers, a multi-award winning, published photographer whose work is nationally used for worldwide marketing campaigns and featured on various items including but not limited to apparel. She shines her light and speaks from her heart in an encouraging and transparent manner and offers a message of hope, healing, and victory to any who encounters her or her works. You can check out her multitude of works at: www.divinelyfocused.com.