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The shortcoming of brainwashing

in Life Lessons, Parenting, Random Musings

Photo by sue_r_b on

I had an whoa moment last week that really got me thinking about what is in my control and what is not. I was confiding in a friend who questioned why I was so worried about what my kids thought about me all the time. I said that I wanted my kids to think I was a good mom.

She smiled and said, “you don’t control what your kids think. You control your actions. Let the kids think for themselves.”


My personal interpretation

The idea of not controlling other people’s reactions has reminded me to cut myself some slack. As a mom, my job is to do what I think is the right thing for my kids at all times. As a wife, my job is to be the best wife I can be. As a friend, the same holds true. How those actions are perceived, however, is not in my control. My control ends when I do the deed. I can’t brainwash people into recognizing my awesomeness.

The same is true in writing. I can only write my stories. It is up to my readers to buy them, to read them, and choose whether they like them or not. It is up to agents and publishers to determine whether the writing fits in their box. The only thing I can control is what product I put out there.


The idea has been very freeing to me. It means that I am just to be me and leave it alone. That’s a lot less work than being me and then trying to convince everyone else that I am good enough, smart enough, funny enough, and “right” enough to be worth their effort. Everyone has the free will to like or not like who I am and what I do. I can’t control that any more than I can make my kids make good decisions. The ultimate choice is theirs.

I can equip my kids and lead them, but I have to allow them to walk (and fail) on their own.

Do you struggle with the idea of how you are perceived by others? How do you handle that?

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