This past week I listened to an extraordinary discussion on what love actually is, and simultaneously, heard stories of control in your relationships.
At the root of control, is fear. If you are controlling another, you are afraid of losing them. But in doing so, you will create the very thing you are afraid of losing. Nobody likes to be controlled. Do you like to have your actions questioned? Do you like to tell people every little detail about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it? You don’t do you? So then don’t ever ask that of someone else. It feels awful when somebody tells you how things should be done, ignores your wishes, and does what they think is right, without listening to what you’re saying. That’s control. If you don’t want it being done to you, then don’t do it to others.
Your job is to create safety for yourself; you will not ever find that in another. And if you have a deep fear of loss, you need to work on that; it is not someone else’s responsibility to heal that for you.
On the flip side, is freedom; love allows freedom. This can be difficult, especially for parents and spouses. Love says, “I allow you freedom to do what you want, to be who you want to be, so that you might become more free, so that you might discover yourself. … I allow you the freedom to fly.”* That is a beautiful way to see and experience love with another.
The fear is that if you allow another their absolute freedom to explore and be, that they might not take you with them. But if you don’t allow them their freedom, you are holding them prisoner to your wishes, and love certainly can’t survive in that scenario. Not true love.
Giving freedom doesn’t mean the other (child, spouse, partner) is going to leave you, it means that you allow them to make their choices, and “mistakes” based on what they need to grow versus what you think they need. It is the ultimate surrender.
You are not responsible for anyone else, you cannot control how another chooses to learn their lessons, and you cannot protect against potential future pain. You are doing the other a disservice if you try to make things ok for them when they are “screwing up” (in your opinion) or if you try to reign in their desires. In those instances, in your heart you say, “I love you, and I know that what you are about to embark upon might hurt you, but I am willing to allow you the freedom to explore and grow.” That’s real love.
Can you be empowered and courageous enough to love so fully that you allow others to chart their own path and fly as needed? Yes, you can. That fear of loss can get in the way, but you can breathe through it and remind yourself that you are safe.
Here’s the thing, everything is always changing and growing, evolving and transitioning. To love deeply and fully in spite of that, is the greatest strength.
So the next time you feel scared and try to limit or control another, recognize that the freedom you deny another, is also the freedom that you deny yourself. Be daring enough to loosen your grip and let go. Trust that what is meant to be, will be. No amount of control will change that. Be brave and choose the highest truth of love, and allow freedom.
* Quote from Lazaris
Me, just sharing ways to make you the best you can be!