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  • Being “Bossy”: Figuring Out When Being “Bossy” Is Okay

    As I previously mentioned, I’m trying this thing where I’m honest with myself about my problems, and I have to admit that I just don’t know the answers. Well actually, I do know the answers, the ultimate answers anyway, but I don’t know the answers on how to get to the ultimate answers.

    I am aware that I like to be in control. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be the leader of the group. It’s not always great because it usually means you have to do most of the work and pick up other’s slack, but being in-charge gave me a feeling of comfort that I preferred.

    When you’re a girl, wanting to be in control gets you labeled as bossy. I’ve been called bossy all my life, and it never really bothered me. For the most part, I’m glad it didn’t because I was able to hone my leadership skills without being aware that it was actually a discouraging word for girls.

    But now, at 26, it looks like I’m having some trouble with the word.

    My boyfriend has always called me bossy, and much like when I was growing up, it’s never bothered me. Bossy doesn't have a negative effect on me. Like Amy Poehler, I believe that bossy women are passionate and ambitious and caring, and I am all of those things. But sometimes my bossiness gets the better of me, and it feeds the control freak inside of me, which is a recipe for disaster in a romantic relationship. And that bothers me. 

    The thing is, when you’re in a relationship, being bossy isn’t actually a good thing, for men or women. This is not to say that I want to be bossed around. Absolutely not. But I, and this is super hard for me to admit, have a very hard time letting go of control. And this has always been a problem in my personal relationships, whether it's friends or boyfriends. But I've never totally been aware of the problem, until now.

    Here's what I want, honestly: I don't want to be upset when things don’t go my way. It’s so childish to get angry when people don’t do things your way. But when you’re as stubborn as you are a control freak, it’s really hard to just ungrudgingly accept something else.

    Perspective changes everything. If you look at my issues from a professional perspective, they actually look like strengths. In my job, I want to be someone who takes charge. If there’s an issue that needs to be solved, I need to be stubborn in order to get what I want. But when you look at it from a different perspective, the personal one, these same issues turn into weaknesses. Sure, I want to be with a man who takes charge, but not so much that I get bossed around. And no one wants to be with someone who’s too stubborn to apologize or recognize a mistake when they’ve made one. So, how do you rid yourself of these feelings for one section of your life, but keep them well and healthy in another? How do you know when it’s right to pull out your stubbornness, or put it away? How do you know when it’s okay to be bossy or let go of control?

    Maybe I'll never know.

    But the older I get, the easier it is for me to identify my tendencies, good and bad. And I’m really trying to find a way to use my good and bad tendencies at the right time. Maybe I’m going after the impossible, maybe I should just be bossy and a control freak and stubborn, and hope it doesn't lead me to self-destruction. Or maybe I should think of these tendencies as guns, that should be used when absolutely necessary and kept locked up the rest of the time. Now that's something I could get behind.