If there is one easily identifiable and often irrational emotion it is fear. If an ego fears something, it will try to control it. If the ego fails, often it becomes irritable, frustrated, or angry.
With almost 100% certainty, think of the last time you were irritable, frustrated, or angry. Did you have a fear that you were unable to calm, reassure, or control? Just how important was that in retrospect? Would acceptance be irrational?
The fear and control exercise is a fun one to observe. Take a few days, perhaps even a week or two, and observe those people who surround you. Pay attention to what they say and do. Watch as they exert their fears and thus control over the people around you and yourself.
Try to identify the source of what they do. A common denominator will begin to emerge. If you are in a number of particularly crazy, conflict and ego driven relationships, this fear and control
theme will simply become overwhelming and undeniable. Laughable in many instances.
I used to love to watch talk shows. They are a veritable minefield of egos lost in preoccupation with the self, fear and control, and ego. After awhile, they became too embarrassing for me to watch. But they are an excellent reference source for the fear and control exercise.
Once I was mediating a dispute between two lovers as they wrestled for control of their relationship. Both participants were completely unconscious and absorbed in self-trying to assuage their fears. She wanted complete devotion and the "house with a picket fence" (a faulty belief system) and he wanted a more casual and uncommitted relationship. The two participants in this relationship refused to budge, held hostage to their fears and thus control of how they wanted this thing to turn out. It eventually boiled over as she manipulated him into a psychological corner. His fears and thus inability to control her manifested themselves into an angry, hostile, and near violent conclusion complete with name calling, labeling, and the usual host of negative judgments.
All of the things we have talked about thus far were evident. Faulty beliefs, fear and control, and to a larger degree, un-communicated expectations.
So take a few days or a week to focus on fear and control. The extent and the clarity of this will emerge. In fact, it may overwhelm you. Do this exercise at home or work, or while talking to your siblings, parents, co-workers, or boss.
One last caveat. Keep the results to yourself. Unconscious egos will launch counterattacks as soon as they feel threatened or fearful. This exercise is intended to just make you aware of all of the insanity around you. Pointing it out serves no useful purpose.