I have control issues. I’m a planner. For any situation, I have a detailed, carefully thought out, plan to guide me from beginning to end. From how to keep a house, to schooling, to career, to friendships to relationships – my plans are carefully calculated to ensure that things turn out as I intend. If things start drifting off of my clearly defined path, I freak out. I am then overcome with anger, frustration and stress. I don’t like anger, frustration or stress.
I felt this yesterday, prior to Date 1, Eric. Eric e-mailed me a few hours prior to our date to express concern about it going as planned, due to the horrible flooding of many streets in our area and he asked if it might be better to move it to the next day. A PERFECTLY legitimate, and quite thoughtful, inquiry. I immediately felt my eyes narrow, my lips pout and my foot started tapping. In my head I thought “NO Eric, Date 1 happens on DAY 1!” I got on the horn with my friend Marlene, complaining that the 35/35 project was already destined for failure. What a stupid idea! How had I ever thought this would work?! She ever so gently pointed out that, perhaps, I was putting my needs before Eric’s, only seeing how I was being impacted by his request to reschedule instead of seeing how, perhaps, driving on flooded roads could impact him. She also pointed out that I was exhibiting an extreme amount of “control freakishness” over a situation that was already, entirely, within my control. I created the 35/35 project and I could have it play out however I wanted it to. I didn’t have hard rules that I had to follow – so why then was I allowing myself to get angry, frustrated and stressed by a simple request?
I control because I want things to go my way. I want things to go my way because I know what’s best for me. I was mad at Susie, my stupid friend – my stupid, IMAGINARY friend, because she didn’t throw a tea party the way that I knew was best. I have been upset at friends for not adhering to my idea of a “perfect plan”, assuming that they were attempting to keep me from what was best for me. I’ve lost boyfriends because they didn’t stick to my plan for a perfect relationship – my ideas for holidays, my ideas for dates, my schedule and timeline for our future (all of which were calculated to arrive at what was best…for ME). And I was almost about to lose Date 1 of 35 because he wasn’t sticking to my “perfect plan” of how this whole 35/35 project should play out.
I am single. I live with my mother (the topic for a future post). Yup, my controlling ways have sure worked – everything has turned out just as I have intended!! (Insert sarcasm here). Perhaps it’s time to recognize that I may just not know what IS best for me after all.
I sat at my desk, about to compose a response to Eric when I decided to take a first step to changing my ways. After all, to change your results you have to change your actions. So, I took a deep breath and trusted that things would work out okay without me having to manage them to make sure that they did. “Sure thing Eric. Let me know if it’s easier for me to come out to you or we can reschedule for another day.” SEND.
We ended up going out as planned. We met at The Epicure Cafe in Fairfax, a unique little cafe with tasty food, beer, wine, outdoor hookah, local art, comedy, open mics, and live music almost every night. Eric was pleasant company and extremely interesting! I listened in awe as he talked about his month of spanish immersion in Costa Rica, his years of ballroom dancing, his love of golf, his frustration with golf and the extremely interesting articles he’s written and had published for his job. And to think that I almost let the date get cancelled all because he proposed to reschedule – in concern of my safety on bad roads. Forget “Stupid Susie!” STUPID RITA!
I need to TRUST that, without my managing and control, things will work out okay on their own. I need to go with the flow. It’s the only way that I can open up to wonderful possibilities that I would not consider existing in my definition of a “perfect plan.”
“Force yourself to hang your control-freakishness on a hook and embark on a journey of experimentation.”
Side Note: Luckily, I’m going to have help on this journey of experimentation. Jess McCann, a highly successful dating coach, and Dave Elliot, another successful relationship and life coach – are going to follow me through the 35/35 project providing me with their honest assessments and recommendations for how I can make the most of the experience and be the best version of myself that I can be. Not only for my own personal growth, but to ensure that I’m providing true value to the men who have graciously offered to be the dates for this project. It’s not going to be easy but I’m ready to change my ways because I want new results!