“When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us.” – Alan Watts, The Way of Zen
Think about it. Why would I attempt to exercise control over you? Why not just accept you as you are?
First, I have to know myself. Then, I have to see you honestly and clearly. When I know who I am and can see who you are, I may or may not want to spend time with you. Isn’t it odd – I go to great lengths to avoid seeing me or you clearly. I prefer the illusion I’ve constructed, rather than reality.
I have a dream, an illusion, an image of who I want you to be. Lots of the components of my illusion are a projection of my own innate goodness onto you. Problem is, you aren’t my image. You are you. You will never, ever be the person I am imagining you to be.
So, I decide rather than give up my illusion, I will change you – I will attempt to exercise control over you. Many, many relationships have this sort of dynamic at their core. It’s a big deal. And usually a two way street.
In my futile attempt to change you, to control you – you end up controlling me. How does that happen? Being the smart, intuitive person you are – you see my game. Umm. Let’s see. If it’s so important to her I be a certain way, maybe I can control her by my reactions to her? Maybe when I act in the way she wants, she will be happy and I can get what I want from her? Or, conversely, when I act in the way she doesn’t want, I can pout, withhold love until she acts the way I want. The who’s going to win today game.
I get to keep the illusion of control and I’ve just given you total power over me. Nuts, right?
This whole dynamic can be set aside when we each know who we are – love ourselves unconditionally and when we can see the other as they are. No illusions. Acceptance.