Choose to Control Your Self to Control Other People
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“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” —Thomas à Kempis
Change Self to Change Other People: 3 Strategies
- To control others–control yourself.
- To change the outer–change the inner.
- To get what you want–give what you want.
When you change your responses, then others respond differently to your new behaviors. This is how you change or control others: indirectly through influence and example.
4 Effective Methods of Control
You have four effective methods to change or control others:
- Example: Model what you want.
- Be Available: Practice active listening.
- Encourage: Share uplifting and motivating thoughts.
- Pray: Pray for them to be under God.
3 Ineffective Methods of Control
You have many ineffective methods such that you can help them to be or do more of what you don’t want.
- Damning: shaming, putting down, personality attacking, condemning.
- Whining: nagging, complaining, moaning, crying, never satisfied.
- Blaming: scolding, witch hunting, fault finding, reproaching.
- More on: Damning, Whining & Blaming
Worst Method of Control
- The worst method of all is also perhaps the most common of all: negative motivation.
Negative motivation is experienced as nagging, scolding, and shaming.
For instance, if you want someone to be honest, then you accuse them of being dishonest all the time. Then when they are later proved to be dishonest, you can say you knew it and you tried to prevent it.
This is the favorite strategy of parents who ruin their children by calling them names and scripting them to be failures. “You will never amount to anything!” “You are a whore!” “You are a loser!” “You are stupid!” “You are evil!” “You are a bum!” Etc.
- Right intention coupled with wrong method = disaster.
You may think that your intention is to help them experience the danger and pain of doing the wrong, but in the process, you are identifying them with the wrong. Now, if they make the mistake of accepting your teaching, then they will be the wrong. And if they are the wrong, they will have to make it right. In other words, they will call evil good and accept the wrong as right, as self.
Here are two references that will help you to practice the good four: example, availability, encouragement, and prayer.
Page, Susan. How One of You Can Bring the Two of You Together: Breakthrough Strategies to Resolve Your Conflict and Reignite Your Love. Broadway Books, New York. 1997.
Gordon, Thomas. PET: Parent Effectiveness Training. The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children. Three Rivers Press, 1975, 2000.
Real Control Exists
- Control through acceptance or coping.
- Control through problem-solving or fixing.
- Control through knowing when to use problem-solving or coping.
- Control through example and influence.
10 Ways to Control Others
- Control yourself better instead of them. This works in most cases because when you change how you respond to others, then over time, they will change how they respond to you.
- Deflect all attacks until they own them. This works because when someone cannot give you their garbage then they are left with it for themselves to eat and own. They eventually learn not to give it to you since it just bounces back on themselves.
- Influence through encouragement and support. This works because all but the hardened respond to encouragement and support even when not expected or sought after.
- Kill with kindness until they respond in kind. This works because it is hard to keep hating someone who is constantly nice to you even when you are mean to them.
- Listen and contact them using a right example. This works because humans are hungry for authentic contact with another human being. And anyone who provides such contact winds up being appreciated and sought after.
- Model often what you want them to do. For example, when you practice cleaning in front of someone it cannot help but teach them to clean and to believe that you value cleanliness. Modeling, however, is often not enough to cause change by itself.
- Practice openly what you want them to practice. When people see you practicing what you preach they are encouraged that it is possible to do and that it is coming from a genuine source.
- Redirect negative energy into appropriate outlets. For example, helping someone to channel their negative energy into fighting for clean air, water, and land benefits everyone.
- Refer to where they can discover and learn. Being a resource person that directs others to discover, explore, and find answers for themselves is what a real teacher should do because a person then learns how to learn.
- Reflect and be present to connect with them. When you reflect (active listening) what you are hearing back to another person it teaches them that you care enough to listen to them and are genuinely interested in what they think and feel. Hard not to bond with someone who really listens to you.
Quotations from Various Sources
“For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”–I Peter 2:20
“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.”–Anonymous
“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.”–Thomas Henry Huxley