The Art of Losing Control, Part 3
In life, much pain comes from trying to keep things together that want to fall apart.
We control our partner, our kids and, most of all, we control ourselves for fear of what would happen otherwise: Our husband might leave, we could run out of money, or, our son might choose the wrong career path. As a result our lives are restricted and we can’t grow. It may be comfortable to operate within clearly defined boundaries, however, ultimately we will not live our life to the fullest.
The truth is, it takes guts to let go.
If you look into nature, thing are self organized. Plants grow and die depending on the natural conditions around them. Sometimes they have enough water to flourish, and sometimes they don’t. They can’t influence the outcome. As humans we are fortunate to have more control over our destiny. This can be a blessing in disguise unless we find the rhythm and the right balance that keeps our lives growing and expanding.
What are some of those ways of control – and how can we change them?
- Overachieving – While working hard can be fun if you engage in activities that bring you joy, overachieving is a response to the fear of not being ‘good, or smart enough’ (which is very much encouraged by our ‘winners first’ culture). Instead of trusting your innate abilities and talents you constantly have to prove yourself to others. This creates enormous pressure and stress.
If you find yourself in this habit, take a step back and relax! Take time out to ask yourself a few honest questions: Is what you are doing bringing you joy and satisfaction? Are you getting recognition for your efforts? Chances are, if you are not having fun and you are not being rewarded, you are not engaging in the right job, business or lifestyle.
- Keeping ‘Busy’ – Have you ever met people that have to be busy all the time? It’s almost as if they are afraid to be confronted with the big ‘nothing’. Some parents play this game with their kids by keeping them on a constant schedule of activities, classes and lessons which is extremely exhausting.
Life works much better when you are relaxed. Don’t force yourself to do things when you are tired. Trust your body and take the breaks when you need them. Life will flow with more ease afterward.
- Withholding – This is a more subtle form of control. It is a way of disconnecting form others and isolating yourself so you don’t have to participate. Maybe you are waiting for life to just happen one day but, truthfully, your ship will not come in. If you want to have a great life, you have to show up and make it happen. You don’t know how? Take it one step at a time. Find one thing that interests you and engage in it. It will get easier from there.
- Talking – It’s almost as if some people are afraid of silence and have to fill the void with words, all the time! The experience is depleting, for the listener and for the talker. If you observe yourself doing all the talking, muster up the courage to be quiet and endure the breaks in a conversation. Silence has a purpose, it allows space for breathing, reflecting and, connecting! Embrace the silence and allow for others to reach out to you, too.
By now you probably get the picture of how these patterns of control work. Some others are
- Being overly protective
- Spoiling the fun
- Pleasing others
If you like, you can add your own observations in the comment section below. Do you find that you control certain areas of your life more than others, and how does it play out? What is the fear that makes you behave a particular way? Once you distinguish the pattern, you can start to let go of it. Once you do this, your life will change and expand in ways you can’t begin to imagine!
In one of my following posts I will talk about the unproductive games of control we play in our relationships. Stay tuned for an interesting article!
Photo Source: Death to the Stock Photo