I used to think I could control everything around me, and that everything was within my control. Not only did these thoughts serve me up plenty of stress and worry, but also continuous feelings of failure and frustration.
How much are you trying to control in your life? Is it your partner? Your children? Your colleagues? What people think of you? The way other react to you? The outcome of each and every situation you find yourself in? All aspects of your work? The way the dishwasher is stacked and how the clothes are folded? Our control is actually our fear of how things might go if we are not in control.
Whatever gave us the idea that we had to control the entire world around us? All it really sets us up to experience is a lot of let downs and disappointments. The desire to always be in control can honestly ruin people’s lives, and the lives of those around them. Nobody wants to be controlled. You know we cannot really control anything apart from our own inner being, the way we show up in the world and respond to what is happening around us.
Ask yourself; ‘Do you want to be in control or do you want to be happy?’
So I have some tough words to help you relinquish control and start feeling more freedom and peace in your life.
Firstly, get honest about it. Recognise who you are and don’t be ashamed. It is so common. You don’t need to walk far to find another fellow control freak. Be brave, not fearful.
Start to observe your mind needing to oversee everything and pull back to replace this fear with courage. See it for what it is and take responsibility for how you usually would show up. For years we may have have believed that we needed to manipulate, manufacture or keep our hand over many (if not all) situations. And if we didn’t, the worst case scenario would play out in front of us. This habit will take time to change, so go gentle. Simply see the truth and learn to allow things to unfold naturally without your two hands or your words in there so much.
Meditate to get better at being still and encourage the act of doing nothing and allowing. Engage your mind to instead co-operate with the beat of your powerful heart. Breathe and believe. Journal your thoughts and emotions as you start to see what has always been and who you are now evolving into. Talk to someone and ask for support when you feel the need to takeover take a hold of you.
Secondly, trust others. Delegate. Doing it all yourself is a recipe for disaster. What message are you sending others by trying to control everything? That they are not able to do it themselves? That they are not good enough? That they cannot be trusted? Or just will not do it as well as you? Allow others to find their own way. Be watchful and look around for others chomping at the bit to give it a go. Ask, who else would love to do this, or even better, who else could benefit from trying this out? Who else needs to be given the chance to build their skills in this area, whether a colleague at work with a new project or your child learning to fold their own washing. Create a safe space to allow others to have the courage to step up. No more robbing this from those around you. No more doing it all and feeling bitter and resentful afterward that nobody helped you. Believe in others. Allow for mistakes and lessons and ultimately growth.
Lastly, be grateful. ‘Expect nothing, appreciate everything.’ I love this mantra. I share it with everyone. It rocked my world once I really got this. We expect a lot of ourselves and others, and easily forget that we are all human, with our own flaws and baggage.
So be kind, look for what is going right and well with yourself and others. Look hard to see the goodness in people and the world. And express gratitude for it. Not everything will come out on top, but if you allow your expectations to be healthy and less ‘high and mighty’ (within reason) you will be less disappointed in yourself and others.
If someone lets me down, I remember this mantra and keep moving on rather than becoming stuck in the situation with that person. I feel more peace and relaxed in life than ever before. So remember nobody owns your joy but you. Your joy is what you can have complete control over. Your joy is what you should work hard to achieve. And eventually your fear will be overtaken by your freedom.