Kindness and Control Go Hand-In-Hand
by Susan Russell, MA, LPC, NCC
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar is a proverb meaning that it is much easier to get what you want by being kind rather than by being mean and rude. Getting what one wants sometimes involves influencing or directing people’s behavior or course of events; in other words, control. Putting these two together can be very powerful in a very positive way.
In that last six months or so, many people have felt like things are out of their control. We have been told where we can go, what we can do, to wear a mask, to stay away from people, to only meet outside or be at least six feet apart, etcetera, etcetera. It has been so difficult and frankly more than a little unnerving. Most people by nature do not like to be controlled, even if it is for their own good. There comes a time though that it is necessary, whether we like it or not.
So, what can we do when it seems like ‘our world’ is out of our control? Glad you asked. We can choose to be angry, selfish, sad, irritable, destructive, argumentative, and just plain hard to get along with; OR we can choose to be content, kind, happy, grateful, positive, constructive, selfless, and respectful. How you choose to feel, behave, and think IS in your control. This includes being kind. Kindness is in your control. Most of us have it in us to be kind but sometimes we choose not to be, especially when we are feeling our control is being threatened.
We control how we respond to people and events. Realizing what is in our control is imperative to self-care. When people are suffering and feel like things are spinning out of control, it is important to take care of you; what you can control. Healthy coping skills are detrimental to self-care. Some examples of these are exercise, healthy eating, getting enough rest and sleep, asking for help from professionals when you need it. Some people journal, meditate, listen to music, be in nature. Others find comfort in their families, crafts, reading, praying. Do what makes you happy and healthy both mentally and physically. When you feel better, you are more likely to be kind. When you are kind, you are more likely to gain more control. Self-care is the ultimate kindness you can practice. Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, so be kind and you will be in control of the most important person – you.