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Control Yourself

Kate never expected her 24-year-old daughter would still be living at home.  She is frustrated that her daughter has no ambition to work, does the bare minimum at home, and needs to be hounded to pay her bills. 

Kate has had it with the arguing.  She has had it with the nagging.  She has had it with the frustration, guilt and tension in her home.  Kate wanted to know if I could help her daughter.

“No.  I can’t help your daughter, but I can help you.”

This is often how my clients begin.  They are looking to change a frustrating, negative situation by changing the other person.  If you want to change your situation, you must begin by changing yourself.

Kate decided to give my process a try.  I gathered as much information about Kate and her situation as I could.  I asked her what her goals were.  I got clear on what Kate was currently doing and which behaviors she could control.  Kate explained what she wanted and what she was willing to do.  Within one hour we had created a simple plan of action for her to implement immediately.

Kate decided that she would completely stop nagging her daughter.  She would try this for the next month.  She would stop reminding her daughter of when her bills were due.  When her daughter missed that month’s car payment, Kate said nothing. 

After one month, Kate could see how her change in behavior was impacting her daughter.  Their relationship was less tense, and they were communicating more positively.

After six weeks, Kate’s daughter started looking for a job as a licensed hair stylist, a job she had quit a few months prior.  Kate just observed her daughter, sticking to the plan to stay hands off.

After two months, Kate’s daughter had a new job, was paying her own bills and was more respectful of Kate at home.  It is an ongoing process, but Kate can see how she needed to change her own behavior to change the results she was getting.  She never realized how much she was contributing to that frustrating relationship dynamic.

You cannot control other people, but you can control how you react to other people.  Your power is found in self-control, self-awareness and self-mastery.

What can you learn from Kate’s story?