Self-Control vs. Controlling Self and OthersBy Dr. Margaret Paul
May 15, 2023
The word "control" can be confusing. When is it beneficial to control and when is it harmful?
It can be confusing - the word "control." Is control harmful or beneficial? Aren't there times when we need to be in control of ourselves or others?
Whether control is harmful or beneficial depends upon your intent.
When your intent is to be loving to yourself and others, then control can be beneficial - like stopping a child from running into the street. Self-control - actually I prefer the term self-discipline - is definitely beneficial. Self-discipline is when the loving adult does not indulge the wounded self in acting in ways that are harmful to yourself - such as eating badly, watching too much TV, overworking, abusing alcohol or drugs, and so on - or behaving in ways that are harmful to others. When the wounded self wants to act out in ways that are harmful to yourself or others, the loving adult needs to exert "control" by metaphorically "sitting on the wounded self," or "sending the wounded self to its room." In other words, the loving adult, connected with your higher guidance, exerts control by preventing the wounded self from acting out. This is self-discipline, and the intent is to be loving to oneself and others.
This is quite different from the wounded self being in charge and trying to have control over not feeling pain through various substance and process addictions. Don't forget, the intent of the wounded self is to have control over getting love and avoiding pain.. It has nothing to do with being loving to oneself and others.
The "control" of the wounded self is always about getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe.
The "control" of the loving adult is about choosing the intent to learn, limiting the acting out behavior of one's own wounded self, limiting an actual child's behavior in areas of health and safety, and taking action for yourself or others. The loving adult always has one's own and others highest good at heart and is connecting with a spiritual source of guidance regarding what is in the highest good of all.
The intent of the wounded self is never about the highest good. It is always self-serving - getting money, power, love, and avoiding rejection, abandonment, engulfment, failure, embarrassment, loss. The loving adult is willing to suffer pain in order to be loving, while the wounded self will do anything to avoid that which it fears.
When we talk about the intent to control, we are referring to the intent of the wounded self. The intent of the loving adult is never to control oneself and others but rather to be loving to oneself and others, and sometimes this includes self-discipline or limitations on yourself or others to stop or prevent harm.
Once again, things become clear when we look at them in the light of intent.
If you discern your own and others' behavior in terms of whether it is self-serving or genuinely supportive of the highest good of yourself and others, you can begin to understand what is loving and what is just controlling. In our society, we have far too much controlling behavior and very little self-control. Developing the loving adult means developing self-discipline through utilizing the power that comes from spirit to limit self-destructive behaviors and behaviors that are harmful to others. This is not a matter of willpower. The wounded self tries to use willpower as a form of control over oneself, but it doesn't work. Self-discipline is using the power of spirit to strengthen your own will and ability to take loving action. This occurs when we consciously invite spirit to act through us rather than trying to act on our own.
When it comes to control, it's important to remember that the only thing we actually have control over is ourselves, our attitudes, our beliefs, our behavior - our intent. Beneficial control is the control we have over choosing the intent to learn about love. Harmful control is when we attempt to control our feelings rather than learn from them and attempt to control others and outcomes.
Self-discipline of one of the rewards of practicing Inner Bonding on a daily basis. These Six Steps exercise the muscle of the loving adult, developing new neural pathways in the brain. The more you practice them, the more you discover that you no longer need to operate on willpower, for you now have the self-discipline, the self-control, the power to choose the intent to learn and make loving choices on your own behalf and in the highest good of all.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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