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August 15, 2023
It is no secret that we as humans love control. Why? It is a primal instinct. Our minds love comfort. In fact our minds are wired to perceive and protect. It gives us a sense of predictability or safety. We love to be in control because then we know the outcome. We can’t get hurt, or caught off guard. We can ensure we never get hurt. That is the opposite of life though. If everything was in your control, there would be no fear or problems. If there is no fear or problems there is no distress. Sounds awesome, right? Except not; we as humans are created to experience life and to become. Become who? The best you. You can’t become the best you without dealing with difficult things.
Let's get honest about control. As much as we love it, we don’t have a lot of it. Think about it - what is actually in your control? You can control yourself. You can control your behavior, thoughts, emotions, decisions, responses, words, how you engage with others, etc. You can’t control other people in any form or fashion. You can’t control the government or the economy. You can’t control traffic or lights. You can’t control the weather. You have to accept the fact that if you can’t control it now, you never will. Instead of getting distressed about this, embrace it. It is less for you to worry about. If you can accept this fact, your life will become much more simple.
Here is a practical skill for you to use. It is called “Limits of Control.” Write down whatever situation has you stressed out. Then you write out all of the things you can control about it as well as all of the things you can’t control. Then you are going to give yourself permission to let go of the things you can’t control. Take a few deep breaths and let go! If you are a visual person you can imagine putting all the things you can’t control onto a cloud, conveyor belt, or leaf and watch them float away. It really is as simple as just letting it go. Now I know what you're thinking. As soon as I let go, I know it will pop up again later. That is okay. Welcome to being human. It is instinctual, remember? Normalize the human experience you are having and then gently remind yourself to let it go. The more you do this, the easier it will get.
Your death grip on control is only making things worse. Your death grip is like a rip current. It will sweep you up, spin you around, turn you upside down, and spit you out. Only to let you get a quick grasp of air before the next wave comes. The more you focus on what is not in control, the more frustrated you will get. Your anxiety will increase and it will cause you to emotionally spiral.
Your desire to want to control things is normal. Remind yourself, if you can't control it now, you never will. You wouldn’t want others to control you, so don’t try to control others. Allow yourself to let go of the things you can’t control.
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