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Helpful holiday hint: Stop trying to be in control

Categories: Hacking Life, The Juggle

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Hi, my name is Lylah. And, in addition to being the Queen of Procrastination and the Empress of Clutter, I am a Control Freak.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has spent more than an hour in my company.

It’s not that I need people to do exactly what I say when I say it (though, honestly? That’s kind of nice). It’s that I feel more secure when I know what’s going on, and I’m more likely to know what’s going on if I’m the one holding all (or most) of the cards.

Not realistic. Or healthy. And it only gets worse around the holidays.

I read this great article about taming a control freak a couple of years ago, and while the article is all about getting along with that super-controlling coworker, I quickly realized I could easily apply it to my own life. A good control freak, after all, should be able to control herself, right?

Here are five ways to shut off your inner control freak for the holidays.

1.) Respect other people’s turf. Don’t step on other people’s toes. If your mother-in-law always makes the dessert, don’t show up at her house with your amazing homemade cheesecake. No matter how good it is, it won’t go down well.

2.) Pick your battles. Do you traditionally open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Is Midnight Mass a must? Do the kids get the big present on the last night of Hanukkah or the first? Do you do charity work as a family? Figure out what’s important to you and fight for it. Let the rest slide.

3.) Perfection is a myth. There is no “just right” in real life. Hold on to your ideals, of course, but abandon the idea that things can only be good if they’re perfect. That just sets you up for disappointment — and failure.

4.) Accept help. And then let them do it their way. A couple of years ago, when my husband offered to lend a hand with arranging and wrapping some of the eleventy billion gift baskets I was putting together for family members, I swallowed hard and said yes, thanks. Then I swallowed hard some more as he did it his way instead of the way I had planned. And you know what? They looked gorgeous. It turned out that he has a much better eye for things like that than I do. Which is why, before we have company come over, he’s in charge of staging the house.

5.) What are you really trying to control? Is it more important that things get done your way, or that they get done? Sometimes, we waste tons of energy trying to control the method, when the important part is the outcome.

Are you a control freak? How do you cope during the holidays?

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