Have you ever heard the saying ‘my way or the highway’? What about the saying, ‘ we try to keep mama happy, ‘cause when mama’s happy, everyone’s happy’? Do you know anyone who lives by the ‘it’s all about me’ philosophy? Do you know someone who doesn’t listen to you and makes you feel as though you and your feelings don’t even enter into the equation? Are you in a relationship with someone who is controlling and uses various methods to get their way? How does being around them for a long time make you feel? Does what they say or do make you feel respected or does it make you feel discounted, as though you are not important?
If you are the one who keeps everyone ‘walking on eggshells, lest they upset your apple cart, remember there is always a price for demanding that everything goes your way. Here are some ideas to consider the next time you are tempted to force others to go along with your plans at any cost.
1. You may get what you want but lose the respect of those around you. Have you noticed that habitual disrespect breeds contempt. Check out the body language and eyes of others when you regularly demand your way. Unfortunately, if you are a steamroller, there is a good chance that you have tunnel vision and all you can see is your objective. You may even justify your behavior by saying that ‘the end justifies the means’, in other words, whatever you are trying to accomplish is more important that the discomfort or disrespect that you are dishing out to others. You may comfort yourself with, “Oh, they’ll get over it. They understand.” They understand alright! They understand more about you than you are aware.
2. Steamrolling shows others your true feelings about them; it gives them the impression that you believe that you have more value, are better, smarter, and wiser. God may have given you creativity, great ideas, and many talents. You may have experience on your side. He may have even topped it all off with a generous portion of intelligence. All it takes is a few pats on the back, a few accolades, and before you know it, you can have an exaggerated opinion of yourself. God’s grace and His favor, mixed with human pride, is a dangerous combination which can lead one to believe that he or she always knows what’s best. Making sure that you get your way, at any cost, lets others know that you are struggling with a pride issue and at the moment, pride is winning the battle. God hates pride. God has had to teach me the hard way that wisdom does not stop at my door; I don’t know it all. God gives wisdom liberally to anyone who asks for it. In fact, He sets it aside for His children. These days, I try to remember that He gives others wonderful ideas and talents too, all for His honor and glory.
3. When you disregard the opinions, feelings, concerns, and efforts of others in order to get your way, it says something about you and your decision to love. God is teaching me that steamrolling others is definitely a deal breaker if you are trying to build and maintain a relationship. For those of you who really don’t care about the relationship, why don’t you? Have you given up on God and his ability to make your relationship one that you can cherish? Have you thrown away your hope? Have you allowed disappointment, hurt, or disillusionment to keep you from starting over and building a trusting relationship?
Are you under the misguided impression that you are the one making everything positive happen in your life? Have you allowed unforgiveness to seep into your soul and harden your heart? If life’s experiences have shifted your vision, you are able to refocus. I am learning that just as I have a choice to hold on to negative experiences of my past, I also have a choice to forgive and move forward with hope and expectancy. I don’t have to ram my dreams down anyone’s throat in order to be happy. If my dream is God-given, He will bring it to pass as I continue to love, trust, and obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
4. As a ‘recovering steamroller’, may I say that I don’t think that people who steamroll recognize the devastation their negative behavior reeks on relationships. They have tunnel vision. All they can see is their way, their goals, their belief system being validated. I don’t think they really understand that they are devaluing those around them and if they don’t nip it in the bud, their attitude will destroy relationships.
But what if you are right? What if your idea is the best one? Is that what you were thinking? I believe that the Holy Spirit is helping me to understand that even if I am right, if I try to force my belief on someone else, they will not accept what I have to say. In fact, rather than embrace my idea and me, they will resist, become defensive, and withdraw. God is teaching me that I get one life to live. So does everyone else. Let me allow them the chance to be all they can be. I’ve learned that many times, there is more than one way to solve a problem. It may not even be a matter of right or wrong, but one approach over another. Nevertheless, one thing I can do is treat others with honor and respect.
When there is a concern, I share what I think should be done. I make suggestions. When I see resistance, I ask for alternative suggestions for a possible solution. If what is suggested is counter to what I believe God would have us to do, I state what I believe God would have us to do, pray inwardly, back off, and leave the results in God’s hands. Boy is this hard to do, especially when it comes to someone else’s life. I am so tempted to insist that they do it my way or in the case of right and wrong, God’s way. Running roughshod over others, though, is not the solution. (Please note, I am not talking about times when I had to make tough decisions when raising my children. Some things were negotiable; others weren’t. Still, as they grew older, I learned that it was important to listen and try to understand their point of view, even if we did not agree.)
5. Another result of being pushy is that you may end up alone. People tend to withdraw from steamrollers. They get tired of being flattened. No one wants their wishes and desires to be ignored or disregarded repeatedly. If you’ve put on your hard hat and have already begun to do a little rolling, look for signs of your family members becoming distant or putting up their guard. Look for co-workers and friends to treat you with less than genuine warmth. In the case of my cousin, I’m ashamed to say I was relieved that she was going home and I didn’t have to deal with her on a daily basis. It made me feel sorry for her immediate family, friends, and co-workers. I don’t want those who know me to use terms like ‘deal with her’ when referring to me. I don’t want to be a difficult person to be around. That doesn’t sound very loving or very Christ-like. Sure, I still have times when the old bossy me surfaces. Still, it amazes me how these days I can more easily put the situation in the proper perspective and not make my way the only way to solve the problem.
6. We can’t afford to be self-centered. There are too many people who are in need of God’s love. One of the best ways to demonstrate Christ’s love is to show compassion and concern for, interest in, and favor to others.
7. When we trample over others to achieve our goal, it injures God’s heart. God wants to be in control of our daily activities. He knows what needs to be done, by whom, and when. He does not like it when we hurt others to get what we want. He is a God of holiness, love, and order. I think that the times when I was pushy were times when I leaned to my own understanding and tried to work out situations by depending on my resources, my intellect, and my talents. I regret that I’ve trampled over people when I was certain I knew what was best. I broke my Heavenly Father’s heart.
Fortunately, God is teaching me to slow down, calm down, listen to Him, and let Him solve problems. I cannot control everything nor should I try to. That’s His job. Everything will work out for my good if I simply love Him and love others the way He loves me.
If you’ve been steamrolled, please forgive them for being unkind to you. They don’t know any better. If they knew better they would do better. Remember Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Please do not allow past hurts to rob you of present and future blessings. Please do not give bitterness a foothold in your life. God can change anyone, even the biggest bully. Don’t focus on them. Rather, let Him change you. Allow His Spirit to comfort, heal, and free you. May each day be better than the day before. May your heart be flooded with God’s light and love. May His peace surround you and mount guard over your heart. You are not alone. It’s my prayer that you will enjoy the journey!
Scriptures to consider:
1 Corinthians 13:2, 5 And if I have prophetic powers ([b]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Love is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
Questions to consider: Do you have a steamroller in your life? Have you allowed God to heal your heart and set you free from the disrespect shown to you?