It’s a great feeling when all of our ducks are in row, isn’t it? We are totally winning at life when all our plans fall into place. You can’t beat feeling great when everything is going right, we know where everything is that we need, our path is mapped out in front of us and everything is totally under contol.
Control. There’s an interesting word.
It doesn’t sound too bad when we are talking about a person in authority taking control of a situation or a racing driver taking control of a powerful car, does it?
We can control ourselves in a healthy way by being mindful of what we eat and drink, our exercise or our sleep. But deep down, we all know we can’t control everything. Control also has a dark side. Controlling behaviour can be damaging to both ourselves and others.
When we try too hard to take control, we can become too focused or obsessed to actually enjoy the very situation we are trying to manage. We will even lash out at those who can see we are struggling when they try and help. What a waste of time and energy that is!
Do we really need to be in total control? How many times have you been in a situation where things happened totally unprompted and you had the time of your life? Those impromptu moments of sheer joy where you abandoned control and just went with the flow felt amazing? They are the moments you look back at.
By taking too much control, we can often end up on the wrong path. If we don’t weigh up our options and circumstances we can become too focused and blinkered. Sometimes we need to take chances. If we don’t dial down our levels of control, our mind will never feel that beautiful moment of sheer joy and freedom of mentally free-falling.
So why do we feel the need to control our lives? There will be a number of reasons, but it’s usually because we are afraid of the unknown. Control brings us comfort because we know what we are going to do and we understand what the outcome will be. Without the comfort blanket of control we assume that we face uncertainty, anxiety and impending doom.
But control doesn’t really prevent those feelings. It just masks them when really what we need to do is surrender to our minds and embrace freedom and trust. So how do we do it?
The first step to letting go is awareness. Once you are aware of when and how you are holding on just a little bit too tightly, you can take those first steps to let go.
Meditation and mindfulness are great tools to help you banish your control freakery. When you feel yourself getting fraught, step back. Watch the rain trickle down the window. Watch the leaves move in the breeze. Or maybe just take a few deep breaths
Recognise that control is based on your fear of the unknown. You might even be giving yourself false hope that the outcome will be fine as long as you do something a certain way. But as the saying goes, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Is that really what you want?
To surrender feels scary. Trusting your brain or your beliefs is a big step. But will it really hurt to do something a bit differently? What’s the worst that can happen?
If embracing your spiritual side is a step too far from your comfort zone, then try writing down your thoughts and ideas in a journal. Writing allows you to use a different part of your brain to the one used when you speak to someone. This means you’ll discover new ideas that you haven’t explored before.
In a recent blog we looked at the power of manifestation. This powerful visualisation technique allows you to transport yourself to a situation where you can imagine how it feels, tastes or even smells to experience something that you’d like to achieve. If control is giving you a closed view of something, then maybe you can visualise a different outcome and consider different possibilities.
Perhaps, in the words of Elsa and Disney in the film Frozen, we need to ‘let it go’. Things are going to happen in life, no matter how tightly we try and hold on to control.
Free your mind and let go … what’s the worst that can happen? Things are rarely as bad as we think.