the Journey of Self – Freedom vs. Control

I am dedicating year of 2021 to a year of self-journey, a year of looking inward to understand myself better and to grow. This is part 4 of the series.

Late last December I came across a book ‘Nonviolent Communication’, which described how we can connect with others in a more compassionate way, expressing ourselves without casting judgment and receiving others’ feelings empathetically. I was immediately enlightened and started practicing what the book advocates for in daily life. Since I am the kind of person who enjoys sharing what I love and have learned (this blog is a natural extension), I frequently talked about this book at holiday gatherings and FaceTime sessions and even bought copies of the book as holiday gifts. I also emailed the emotional intelligence interest group at work and recommended it as a book club topic. After some ‘aggressive’ promotion of the book, later on, I checked with my friends to see if they read it. I got a bit frustrated when my friends did not take my recommendations seriously or when they did not feel as strongly about the book as I did.

When watching the video of Yung Pueblo, whose two books and weekly newsletters are amazing, I realized everyone is learning at their own pace (video starts at 36:15) and I can only help those who are open to changes and actively seek out help. Because each person holds the key to his/her own heart, we need to be kind to others and let them grow at their own pace. We can provide all the support we think they need, but nothing will change unless they are committed to making the change themselves. We can provide resources but should not get frustrated when they don’t do anything or when they pick a different way to get assistance. If we realize we cannot help any further, we can set boundaries, communicate that, and step away from the issue at hand if needed. However, there is no need to be upset if the results don’t turn out the way we expect.

Upon realizing that, I am able to let go of my desire to control others’ reaction a lot more easily. I also wonder whether my wanting others to react or solve problems the same way I did was just another form of me seeking external validation. Luckily, I have grown a lot sure of myself over the past year that I care less about getting validation. I still enthusiastically share what I love. If they enjoy what I have shared, that’s great. If they do not, at least I feel good about having done my part of trying to be helpful.

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