I had the most fascinating conversation today about where the need to control comes from. I presented my theory that people feel a need to control out of fear. But then was countered with the theory of options. This is how it goes:
There was a young man who came to the United States as a visiting college student from a different country. His family was very wealthy and they sent him to the U.S. with the intent of him going to college to become an engineer. The young man enrolled in college. But he only enrolled in two classes. The first one was “How to learn” and the second was “How to marry.” He took both classes, failing the “How to learn” class but passing the “How to marry” with great ease. He ended up dropping out of college and got married, much to the disappointment of his family.
The point is, instead of being controlled by his family. He looked at his situation as being given two options. He made his choice and was successful.
So, the next time you are given a set of external expectations, look at them differently. Look at your options. You can do exactly what others expect of you, or you can give yourself a couple of simple options to try out. See which one fits you best. Keep it simple.