When Our Control is "Out of Control".
Republished with permission from Jacque Saltsman
Has anyone ever mentioned these to you? Or might you be a self-proclaimed control junkie? Most people I know (present company included) have a tendency towards control. We want to know what we’re getting into. We want to know how it will all turn out. Unless it’s a birthday, surprises aren’t considered a good thing in this world. If you want to be successful, you must keep it all together and look good doing it, right? Successful people have goals, plans and foreseeable outcomes. They take responsibility for everyone and everything. We are only worthy if we are proving our worth. It’s not OK to be different or do it differently. Only crazy or lazy people let go of the reins and let things fly. Right? I don’t think so.
Even before society got its hands on us, many of us learned the ‘necessity’ for control at an early age. Some people grew up in loud, chaotic, unstable households. Some had to deal with the stress and tension of painful things ‘under the surface’… things that weren’t being said. Either way, if our outside environment (parents, house, siblings, community, school) felt out of control (unsafe), we learned to control as much as we could in our immediate environments (relationships, physical space, grades, self-talk) so we would feel safer. Depending on factors like gender, family role and personality, each individual’s penchant for control could develop in different ways. Some people become loud and outwardly controlling, wanting to control people and situations with power and money. Some are more subtle or tend to focus on controlling environments, energies, moods and relationships.
No matter how or why we learned it, our tendencies for control can often get ‘out of control’ and be detrimental to our lives.
As adults, the vast majority of us are fundamentally safe in the world. We have our own power. We have resources. We can speak up for ourselves. No one needs to tell us what to do anymore. We are fundamentally OK. We have developed into functioning, contributing, smart, healthy adults. We can make our own decisions. We can change anything in our lives at any moment. We are safe.
Yet, most of us never un-learned the need to control what’s not ours to control.
It’s not surprising. As we grow up into good consumers, most of society, media and advertising reiterates the message that we don’t have power; that the world is not safe; that we need someone else to decide for us; that we need to buy this or do this or be this or hate this to be OK.
So, our neurological wiring for control has only strengthened into adulthood. But, at what cost?
Control suffocates us. It makes us feel anxious and overwhelmed. Our bodies get tight and constricted. It feels like we are chronically busy, attempting to manage every minute detail of every situation. Control feels like unrest, dis-ease, struggle, disconnect.
Control keeps us from really listening to or seeing people and situations as they truly are because we already have a predetermined idea of how things SHOULD be.
Control is the illusion that if we hold on tight enough, we can keep all of the moving pieces in all of the ‘appropriate’ boxes.
And don’t forget the WORRY, which is the world’s greatest illusion of control. If we worry enough about something or someone enough, it will ultimately change the situation.
How has this worked out for us so far?
Not so great, huh? Controlling takes a lot of energy. It consumes us. We become obsessed. It’s an addiction. It impedes the natural flow of life. It inhibits us from growing. It inhibits those around us from growing. It stops us from taking risks. It prevents us fromshowing up as who we really are. It keeps us in our armor.
So, why do we keep doing it?
We have some insane belief that if we let go, even for a second, it will all go spiraling out of control and our world will completely fall apart.
You know what? It might… for a moment. Or it might not.
We know from physics that if we constrict a force for too long or with too much pressure, that energy must go somewhere with that equal pressure. So, yes, there might be an explosion or a little chaos once we start to let go, but only temporarily. Then it will level out. Life will begin to flow naturally and normally again.
And if the natural flow of the universe isn’t incentive enough to let go of our grip, how about the promise of greater peace, more freedom, better health, well-being, living with more ease and joy? How would if feel to be more connected with everyone in your life? Sound worth it?
Be willing. Be mindful. Be aware. Be brave. Practice. Notice.
Create boundaries and uphold them.
Be grateful. Be forgiving. Be loving… to yourself and everyone you know.
We are all in this together. Everyone is going through something. No one has it all together. We’re really not supposed to.
Ask for help.
Remember who you are:
A beautiful, divine, loving, spiritual being having a human experience… just like everyone else.
Also, you don’t have to give up any of your dreams, goals, desires and plans. But, learn to leave space for magic and uncertainty. Learn to trust and let go once you’ve set the wheels in motion. (I swear it won’t kill you.)
The truth is the universe is a loving and safe place. The more often we look for evidence of that, the more often we’ll find it. You can do this if you want. You are deeply worthy – not because of anything you’ve accomplished, but simply because you are you. This work has a ripple effect. The people around can’t help but be affected by your bravery. When you let go, you allow and inspire others to grow and let go as well, which only brings more peace, ease and freedom to the whole world. Now, get out there and LET GO!
Jacque Saltsman | Healer + Life Coach
502.882.0345 | jacquesaltsman.com