The power of control
I start with two quotes that to me highlight the same thing. They both tell us how the power of control can stand in the way of being able to truly share love. Being present in a too self-conscious way is a form of control to me. Afraid to trust feelings that go way beyond the form of control you want to apply on them. It makes feelings become an obstacle, a riddle you cannot solve and dislike because not able to fully direct it. When that happens you kind of deny a feeling to have its own power already and disallow it space by wanting to control every single bit of it. It is very exhausting as well btw . . .
Self-consciousness is fatal to love. The self-conscious lover never ‘arrives.’ … And so too the whole modern period of commercial civilisation and Christianity has been fatal to love… They have bred the self-regarding consciousness in the highest degree; and so — though they may have had their uses and their parts to play in the history of mankind, they have been fatal to the communal spirit in society, and they have been fatal to the glad expression of the soul in private life. Self-consciousness is fatal to love, which is the true expression of the soul.
Logically the opposite of love is hate, and of Eros, Phobos, (fear); but psychologically it is the will to power. Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other.
Arranged lifestyles still exist . . .
When marriages were still arranged and love was not a good enough reason by itself to marry someone else instead, all people cared about was making it a success in terms of wealth, money, status and of course babies to be the next generation for inheriting all they worked so hard for. These arranged marriages we find totally inappropriate now, unnatural and not romantic. The high level of control regarding all other aspects except love, is something we deny as being ok for our ways of love and life.
But look at how our modern society deals with love. We may think to have improved because allowing romance to be the main reason for relating and marriage, but truth is we started to overrate romance and lost track of what is healthy, natural and acceptable as well. Romance now has become the project you are supposed to arrange. Let me be clear. I am not against romance at all. I love it. But the way romance is being manipulated into something you have to arrange with a self-created sale model of your own persona . . . sorry, that sucks. I refuse to treat myself as a Trade Mark, a brand or modifiable concept for romance. As if I can make magic happen with that. Yet it seems to be totally normal nowadays to be in this state of super self-awareness and super self-consciousness about how to present yourself as creation. And of course it matters to only show what is likeable because you believe your creation needs to be flawless. But apart from flawless being a silly concept for a persona it also means that when the majority does it that way, we all end up at the same boring level of polished and perfect lives. It LOOKS very desirable and admirable but has no roots in reality, only in imagined treats. In other words: it is fake. All your upgraded fantastic moments and stunning visuals never will guarantee anything else than what they are: An outside layer without any depth or insight in who you really are. Romance and love are treated like a competitive game with levels that will ensure (!) your success. You become a score (more points means more power) instead of an accidental meet generating the romance and love we actually seek. Interaction is what counts, meetings of the mind. Not one single created persona, no matter how perfect, will do that for you. You only make it harder to compete with your own creation when you are challenged to actually meet someone for real.
‘Influencer’, the holy grail of attractiveness
I guess the highest score is being a so called INFLUENCER. The hot new job that only needs a degree in Instagram skills. Really, how silly is that, being an influencer because your persona looks so perfect it makes people follow your stream. This creates a new group of adepts, adopting the lifestyle and who knows next year a few new influencers again who all preach perfection in updates about their lives. Boring :) Yup, sorry I really dislike that word and that kind of glamour ‘jobs’. The holy grail of attractiveness being assigned to Instagram popularity. I cannot think of anything else than words like poor, pathetic, empty and sad. So you tell me, if arranged marriages are so bad, why is the arranged persona as lifestyle not bad as well, especially when it is used as base for finding romance. Both methods deny romance and love as it is meant to be for me. Both methods try to achieve it through control and actually believe it will help them to find the best match. And since it has become a massively spread habit, many relations will be given a try based on false information in the worst possible way. No wonder people get upset when they date in this way, calling it a big disappointment again and again. It is simply impossible to deliver what was created. And when both involved cannot deliver what they created it almost becomes hilarious, a comedy of unexpected surprises, just a very tragic comedy . . .
Is Second Life any better?
In many ways no. The competition between avatars to want to be the hottest guy or girl is high. The amount of money invested in perfect looks is probably shocking if we would have all data. The many perfect descriptions in profiles with a quote to emphasise the best parts of ourselves are quite predictable. Not necessarily bad or misleading, but like we don’t have to show the worst version of ourselves we also could choose to not only show the best version of ourselves and pretend that is who we are. You will become your best version when you find romance or deep meaningful connections. Such people stimulate you to want to be your best self, but they also accept you will have your off days and some less nice treats. And yes, we all do it in a way, some more than others, but we all upgrade ourselves more or less into a likeable version. The more you upgrade yourself, the harder it will be when something happens that puts your persona to the test. Then either hell breaks loose or you navigate your way through it without too much damage done because your imperfection already was known and accepted as pop-up hazard now and then.
This is why I like the unspoilt, unpolished version of someone myself. And why I always will ask for the blunt truth. It gives me the relief I am not alone in being imperfect and far away from carefully and meticulously created personalities. That in fact is what makes us all unique. To not erase the less pleasant parts makes you stand out and real. To not follow the flock of sheep but your own flow and pace. To not need total control over yourself and allow space for the less pleasant you who makes mistakes when stressed, grumpy, scared or annoyed. It is a delight to be able to say . . . hey, that’s ok really because I have it too and you are ok with that when I show that part of myself. It creates this sweet balance of give and take, of care and be cared for.
How to do that?
I am not a guru and probably one of the most imperfect creatures you can think of to guide you. My complexity score is more than perfect, my survival score as well, but ok I do have some ideas of course. Just know that having ideas and suggestions is the easy part. Act on them is the hard work part. All starts with being aware to not have to be in this super control mode all the time and that you even need mistakes to learn to improve yourself. So allow your flow to show the way more and be less super self-conscious on everything needing to be arranged and controlled. That creates an open space in which things can grow by itself. Everyone has potential and potential only needs space. Trying to force it into a heavily guarded and controlled space will only create tension and high risk for damage. In an open space things can grow. Growth needs time. Controlling someone’s time is like ordering that person to be ready, even when not ready. It is like education a bit. You learn most by playing with ideas, give it space and time to develop into something substantial and solid. If I tell kids they need to know all in 2 weeks time I create pressure. If I ask them to try to learn as much and good as they can and tell me when they are ready to show it, it is much more inviting and stimulating. Seeing others succeeding will be a silent but powerful accelerator. The natural hunger for learning will do the rest. And when it fails even so, no one is to blame. Because you tried your best and succeeded in that way to show your best. No control . . only space and stimulation to let it flow and grow. Like a flower won’t open on demand but decides itself which sun kiss is the ultimate one to make it happen.
Vulnerability is a must
Letting go total control over all means you have to allow yourself some vulnerability. That really is not always as scary as it looks. You even get used to it after a while because it does not make life more complicated only, it also rewards you with relief and insights on yourself and others. Life, romance, friendships and love are all about taking risks. The unprepared, unexpected, and unpredictable experiences often are the best ones to have. They are powered by their own energy, with a direct connection to your unshielded and unveiled mind and spirit. This kind of almost child like spontaneity is truly a treat when you can show it and/or meet it in someone else. And whatever comes out of that, silliness, clumsiness, sweetness, blushes, tears, laughs, bluntness, hardness, closeness, distance, you at least know it was genuine and gives you a good view on someone in that moment of his or her existence and vice versa. That is worth a lot and saves a lot of pretending to have super powers. And when into a flow you might get your clothes torn now and then yes, or walk with some scratches and bruises. That’s actually quite ok . . . keeps you humble and aware not all is under your control :)
Simply said . . .
If you want a life, a friendship, a romance and love that can be called authentic and free from pretending, stop arranging and creating a perfect persona / personality. Instead just be the only personality you can be, the uncensored, vulnerable version of you:
- Admit your flaws.
- Take responsibility in mistakes instead of blaming whoever or whatever.
- Be totally honest. It saves a mess from reaching the horrible state of beyond repair.
- Show and share your love when you feel it and do not be afraid of love not being reciprocal. It only will help you to make choices for someone who chooses for you as well.
- Be brave when things become challenging. Sometimes we need to reach out when the other is not capable to do so. Sometimes we need to make a decision if the other is afraid to do it. Sometimes we need to accept that things go in another direction then wished for. You have to be brave to not just give up on things that are hard or to let go when it is impossible.
- Switch your control mode to being the receiver sometimes. It can be sweet to not have to be the one in control when you always are used to be that person or expected to be that person.
- Be happy with yourself as imperfect person and with others to be imperfect as well. That will make a very unique connection with anyone or at least show you who is good to hang out with and who might not be such a good choice.
- And don’t forget: Creating uniqueness is a hoax. Uniqueness cannot be created. It only can be derived from your already present potentials you so try to control, yet suffocate. Uniqueness stems from your very own origin no one can recreate, not even you yourself. You only can nurture and nourish it and make it grow and become visible.
The backwards law by Alan Watts
This is what trying too hard also does according to the ‘backwards law’ from philosopher Alan Watts.
What a waste of energy . . .
Wanting a positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience. It’s what the philosopher Alan Watts used to refer to as “the backwards law”—the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you. The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centred and shallow you become in trying to get there.
The tattered cape I used in the picture is from mr Beagle. I used it in a non-regular way. It attaches by default as a cape, but I multiplied the cape and made a flower with the copies. A tattered flower with a vulnerable heart, just like it should be. Beagle will have the cape on sale for you after updating it for a better fit. But since I like imperfect it was perfect for me :))
Two more than excellent articles on the quotes I started the blog with can be found here: