Seeing in a new way.

Don’t Let Others Control Your Happiness. See in a Powerful New Way.

Don’t let others control your happiness!

How is it even possible that anyone else can control your happiness?

I think it all comes from signals being crossed. It’s as if, somehow along the way, you decide that your happiness is at the effect of others’ behaviors.

And this belief is probably very old.

There are many reasons we can develop a lack of personal power regarding our happiness.

But allowing others to impact and control your happiness doesn’t work. And thankfully, you have a choice. And there is a new way to see everything!

Let’s take a deeper dive into how the idea of controlling starts.

Control is a two-way street.

This is confusing, but I see control as a two-way street. If you feel that others’ behaviors can influence your happiness, then you might feel the need to control those behaviors.

The push and pull of control doesn’t work unless both people are holding onto the ends of the rope.

If you release others and drop the rope, there is nothing to control. You become immune to the actions and behaviors of others.

But, if you feel your peace of mind is hinged upon other people’s actions and behaviors, you willingly sign up for the codependency dance.

But where does this come from?

According to Hailey Magee, a codependency recovery coach:

“Controlling behavior is a hallmark of codependency, but the first time we come across the idea that we’re controlling, we sputter with indignation. Whether we’re ‘helping,’ ‘generous,’ ‘saving them from themselves,’ or ‘doing it for our relationships,’ many of us don’t realize that we use various tactics to influence our partners’ behaviors and manipulate the outcomes of situations.”

Control becomes a central thread in our relationship.

We feel overly responsible for others and suffer when they aren’t doing what we think they should be doing, saying, feeling, etc.

In this way, we’re attaching our sense of well-being to them. We’re willingly handing over our power.

When we feel this way, we’re off balance and not connected deeply enough within ourselves.

Let’s get even deeper:

On a deeper level, why is this so important to us?

Likely because we’ve felt out of control in the past, and we seek to feel in control now.

Maria Shriver offers these thoughts on healing from the past:

Time to review times in your life when others were in a position of authority or power over you and you were hurt or abused by them.

What words or actions did they use to manipulate you?

Do you unknowingly use any of those techniques against others in your life to stay in control?

Asking yourself these questions will help you uncover those wounds of the past and begin to heal them. Working with a professional on the deeper issues would be a significant step in coming away from control.”

See that you’re trying to control your environment and everyone in it so that you no longer have to feel the pain of overwhelm, helplessness, and chaos you’ve felt before.

So, now that you can get a glimpse of what’s happening, what do you do?

Emotional intelligence. Woman trying to control others.

1. Accept what’s in and out of your control.

According to the Sharon Martin, LCSW, of psychcentral:

“Intellectually, we all know that we can only control ourselves, and yet we persist in trying to get our spouse and kids to do things the right way or to make the right choices.

Acceptance means that we distinguish what’s in our control and what’s not, and stop giving unwanted advice and pushing situations to be something they aren’t.”


Why is it so hard for this to sink in? Maybe I need to write that sentence down a hundred times.

It’s so easy to forget! But it’s so true.

We attempt to control others because we want to manage outcomes that will keep us feeling okay.

Instead, we need to accept what’s in our control (our well-being, thoughts, mindset, plan for the day, etc.) and what’s not (other people’s actions, feelings, choices, decisions, etc.).

2. Practice healthy emotional detachment.

Here are a few constructive tips from Remez Sasson of

  • Practice letting go.
  • Substitute your negative thoughts, fears, and worries, with happy and positive thoughts.
  • Learn to observe your thoughts and feelings. In time, this will enable you to detach from unwanted thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
  • Learn to loosen your attachment to unpleasant memories and the past.
  • Avoid people that depress you, let you down, or unjustly criticize you.

I’ve found detachment to be a process. Be patient! It’s like breaking a habit. It takes time and practice.

As he mentions in the third point above, you can grow and cultivate mindfulness over time. Recognizing that you’re reacting and giving away your power is a critical step. Then, you can gently redirect your energy in a more positive, self-nurturing way.

3. Remember gratitude and acceptance.

Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., says:

“As you create a more balanced relationship with your urges for control, you’ll find yourself feeling freer and more empowered. You can foster your progress by mindfully practicing gratitude for what you do have control over—your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

And by practicing acceptance of what you can’t control—such as the actions of others or the rate of inflation—you’ll feel more positive and balanced.”

Practicing gratitude for what you do have control over is huge.

You are free! You don’t have to be at the effect of others. Empowerment is a wonderful thing. It’s funny how easily we forget how powerful we truly are.

woman looking in the mirror - practicing self-care.

4. Turn the mirror back onto yourself and practice self-care.

Doesn’t it always come down to self-care?

In fact, Tony Robbins says:

“Healthy habits like meditation, priming, and visualization can help you ease anxiety, focus your energy and allow you some breathing room to work on how not to be controlling. Self-care is another essential practice if you have a need for control. Make taking time out part of your daily routine, and you’ll see instant benefits in your state of mind.”

Meditation has the power to relax your mind and see unhealthy attachments resolve.

In prioritizing self-care, we’re taking responsibility for ourselves. We’re also letting everyone else off the hook. And self-care comes in so many shapes and sizes.

When I lose my center and try to control everything around me, I now see myself as a young girl feeling out of control.

I remind myself that I’m wise, safe, and centered. I can take a few breaths and suddenly feel lifted from that old, traumatized state.

Sometimes I falter, but the more I practice, the quicker I regain my center.

Then, I feel grateful that I have myself to care for emotionally.

I learn that loving others is letting them be and accepting them wherever they are.

This is the very best thing I can do.


Did you enjoy this story? Please share it with someone you love!

In the mood for more? Check these out:

Read about four reasons to stop putting someone on a pedestal.

Have you been single for a long time? Read thoughts on this here.

Is letting people in hard for you? Take a look at this.

Check out these 15 Atlas of the Heart quotes. They will get you thinking!

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