by Anna Blanch on September 26, 2012

Control. Sometimes it is what we grasp for, in the smallest of things when we don’t feel like we have it over anything large.

I used to let the way a housemate washed a dish, or what my mother did or did not say right in comforting me, or errant books or shoes in living areas cause me frustration. The kind of grating frustration that makes your muscles tense and your brow furrow.

But then I realised that I was letting the less important things (though I like details too) cloud the most important things. I was letting my griping get in the way of relationships.

At the end of the day, If I care deeply about doing something in a particular way then that’s the way I’ll do it, but there’s no point in causing myself and the people I care about grief by over-reacting in relation to the small stuff. I’m sure there were times where I made them feel small or as if the act of not doing something exactly the way I wanted it done was the make or break it part of my day.  I know this is probably how they felt, because it is how I feel when others seek to control their environments to the nth degree by seeking to control the way I do things. Sometimes I wonder if they know how they sound. And then I realise that it took me a while to understand how I sounded and how much it was taking the joy away from my home.

Expressing that you’d like things done a particular way is one thing, nit-picking is another.

Does it really matter? And why are you trying to control every detail?

I’ve also realised that by protesting those things that are nit-picked I need to be careful not to fall into passive-aggressive patterns. If they are silly, little, things, then does it hurt to do them exactly the way the person in your life who’s going to have some kind of conniption if you don’t wants you too (this is harder when they don’t make themselves clear and just complain after the fact….as if there’s an imaginary rule book you don’t have a copy of)? Probably not. It can be tempting to ignore them, because arguing about something so small — when you feel like they are being picky — seems (and probably is) dumb, but the heart of the issue is still present. And how to fix that?

Mmm…I’m not sure. For me it was a combination of people close to me asking me not to sweat the small stuff, and asking if it really matters and realising that it was a symptom of those times when I  felt like I couldn’t control something else in my life, something much bigger.

Perspective and time change things. Focusing on relationships change things. Realising that you could instead be in a place where you don’t even have control over your safety changes things. Finding peace beyond the order of the physical, the temporal changes things.


Would you write me off as extreme, or do you find yourself needing to control things and people around you?

Where do you find your peace?

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