The other day a client shared how frustrated she is that her spouse won’t take her advice about how to handle a situation at work. Her spouse keeps talking about and worrying about the situation, and my client keeps offering advice and directives, usually preceded by, Here’s what you should do…
And yet the situation remains. The spouse continues to complain and worry. And my client, Carmen, is feeling negative emotion.
She originally blamed her negative emotion on the fact that her spouse wasn’t taking her advice. However, as we explored what was going on through the lens of Law of Attraction, my client landed on this: I’m trying to control and it doesn’t feel very good.
Now here’s the thing: Carmen had dealt with a very similar work situation earlier in her career. She felt well versed to share her considerable expertise and what had worked for her. Carmen’s intentions were good—she truly wanted to help her spouse feel better and improve things at work.
But somewhere in the unfolding, Carmen had crossed the line from guiding by example to control. The former would have felt fine—good even. The latter was feeling anything but fine. My client was feeling the friction of control.
Guidance versus control. There is a significant vibrational difference between these two energies.
“If you guide through anything other than your own example, it crosses over into the category of control. If you say, ‘This is what I’ve found that works for me, try it if you like.’ That’s guidance. If you say, ‘This is what I’ve found works for me, and if you don’t follow it, you’re in trouble,’ that’s control.” —Abraham
Here’s the bottom line: Control doesn’t feel good to the person doing the controlling or the person on the receiving end of that energy. In other words, when you are controlling, you don’t feel good—and the person you are controlling doesn’t feel good.
When you are being controlling, how you feel depends on the other person doing what you think they should do. Your alignment is conditional on them doing what you want them to do or what you think is best.
This is precisely why many of us feel friction when we give advice, and the person on the receiving end does not take our advice.
Have you experienced this? You give your girlfriend advice about some situation in her life that she’s troubled by, she doesn’t take your advice, and now you are some flavor of upset.
Being controlling simply doesn’t feel good.
At the same time, the person on the receiving end of this behavior doesn’t feel good either because someone trying to exert control simply doesn’t feel good.
Freedom is at the top of the emotional scale. The feeling of being controlled is the opposite of freedom.
In short, control is not a high vibe energy. For the person controlling or the one being controlled.
Of course, many of us who are being controlling don’t necessarily own this characterization of our behavior. We don’t want to think of ourselves as being controlling.
We say, No, I’m just being helpful, just offering advice. I’m making a suggestion. I only want what’s best for the other person. (The subtext, of course, is: And I know what’s best for you).
When you think you know what’s best for someone else, that’s control, not guidance.
This idea—I know what’s best for you—is decidedly low vibe. And it cuts both ways.
- When someone else thinks they know what’s best for you, but somehow you don’t, that’s low vibe.
- And when you think you know what’s best for someone else—your spouse, kid, best friend, neighbor—it robs them of their own agency, the autonomy of their own journey, the wisdom of their own intuition.
I’ll say it again: Thinking you know what’s best for someone else is low vibe.
Every now and again, I get some pushback about this concept from a coaching client.
Especially parents in relation to their kids. But often too with partners in a relationship. And then sometimes the knowing what’s best for others extends far beyond personal relationships to knowing what’s best for the neighborhood or the country or the world at large.
When I say there’s sometimes pushback, what I mean is someone sort of digging in to the belief, But I really do know what’s best. But my way really would be better. I really do know what will work, will solve the problem, is best for the other person.
100% of the time when you dig into the belief that control is OK—in whatever form that takes for you—your own vibration is compromised.
When your vibration is one of control, you will encounter many opportunities to be controlling.
Like attracts like. So you will encounter one situation after another where you know what’s best— if you can just get others to see that and do what you want.
And your own vibration, you own ability to feel good, will become dependent on whether you can get all these situations to unfold and resolve in the way you think is best.
Which is simply not going to happen. Seeding situations with the energy of control is bound to yield negative emotion.
I like to think of control as being on one end of the continuum and then way down at the opposite end is guidance.
And I am always somewhere on that continuum with my thoughts and words and actions.
The same is true for you. You are always somewhere on that continuum. Your thoughts and words and actions are either in the direction of control or in the direction of guidance. A useful question you can ask: Is my vibration oriented toward control or toward guidance?
Which might have you wondering: What does guidance look like? What do I even mean by guidance—especially as vibrationally distinct from control?
Guidance can mean different things, can look different ways. Here are a few examples:
- When you share your experience with someone with no expectation other than they will do what’s right for them—that’s guidance.
- When you show up in the world and model unconditional alignment—so, alignment without conditions—that’s guidance.
- When you ask great questions, like What do you want to do? instead of telling the person what she should do—that’s guidance.
- When someone asks you for advice and you encourage her to follow her own intuition—that’s guidance.
- When you see others as resourceful and whole, and then think and speak and act from that belief—that’s guidance.
Just to be clear: When you share your experience with someone, that’s neutral. But your intention and what follows is either guidance or control.
For instance, when you get friction in your own vibration because someone isn’t following your advice, isn’t doing what you would do, isn’t paying attention to your suggestion, that’s not guidance. That’s control.
Are you about guidance or about control?
Do you say, This is what I’ve found works for me, try it if you like? and then walk away, let it go? By walk away I mean freely offer your example, but have no vested interest in what the other person does other than wanting them to do what they want to do.
This is what I’ve found works for me, try it if you like, and also trust your own inner knowing, do what you want to do, know that there are no wrong decisions—only decisions you don’t align with.
Are you about the guidance of This is what I’ve found works for me, try it if you like…or do you say, This is what I’ve found works for me, and you must do the same or else?
Now, I doubt any of us is truly saying you must do the same or else in those exact words, but we convey this message all the same in more subtle ways.
I have your answers. I know what’s best. Do what I suggest so I can feel good that you take my advice.
Again, freedom is at the top of the emotional scale.
We are freedom-loving beings.
It does not feel good to control or be controlled. Control and freedom couldn’t be further apart vibrationally.
This is an invitation to shift your energy from control to guidance.
- Happily share your example…and expect and want others to do what’s best for them.
- Show up in the world and model unconditional alignment.
- Ask others what they want and want to do rather than telling them what you think they should want or do.
- Encourage others to follow their own intuition.
- Don’t jump into offer advice and try to fix things. See others as resourceful and whole and as you know they want to be.
You are always somewhere on that continuum of control on one end and guidance on the other.
Head toward guidance. Hang out in the vibration of guidance.