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I write this post as someone who for quite some time believed that having control was the path to happiness. Thankful, I have learned there is a much better and much more satisfying way to achieve fulfillment and happiness.
The myth that control will lead us to the life we desire is one that is very easy to buy in to. And while we should control certain aspects of our lives (our behavior, our thoughts, our decisions), that is where it needs to cease. It is knowing when to hold on and when to let go and finding that happy balance that will lead to a sense of relief. The moment I realized that the behavior of others didn’t have to affect my mood and therefore my decisions, it felt like a weight was lifted from my chest. I felt freer, happier and content to pursue a life that satiated my passions.
The motivational speaker Mike Robbins explains that the reason for us to seek control is that we are either filled with a sense of fear (not knowing for certain how things will turn out), feel unworthy (we don’t feel that we deserve support or the chance for things to work out) or we lack trust (in others and/or ourselves). Whether it is one of these reasons or all three, each of these are valid, human emotions, however, they can be managed through conscious effort and willingness to accept ourselves, trust ourselves and believe that we are truly worthy.
So how can each of us learn to let go of the need to always be in control?
With any situation that isn’t working, we must first be honest with ourselves and properly access the situation. In what areas is our need to be controlling damaging our lives? In certain arenas – finances, professional responsibilities, many aspects of parenting, just to name a few, it is expected that we take responsibility and be in control; however, in relationships, dinner parties, travel or others’ behaviors, it could very likely be detrimental for an enjoyable experience, sense of respect or happiness. Once we are honest about what we want to change, we must focus your energy on the process of letting go in these areas.
Find People Who You Trust
means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood.” ~Karen Casey
With nearly anything in life, we can’t do it alone. For someone who is controlling, it is hard to ask for help or reach out for a boost because we don’t want to appear needy or we may not trust the people we ask assistance from. In the case of not trusting those who surround, trust that instinct. I would never suggest that you force yourself to trust someone who you for whatever reason don’t. What this does mean is that you need to find people you do trust – a good friend, a partner, or someone who has your best interest at heart. Someone who you can allow yourself to let your hair down around and not worry about a backlash.
Let Go of Specific Expectations
you live more richly those moments.”
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Having a plan or setting goals for yourself is always something I will champion and highly recommend for reaching the success and happiness you desire. With that being said however, we need to let go of the outcome. In other words, put the necessary work in, have your eye on the prize, but be open throughout your journey. You never know when an opportunity will pop up as you are focused on your path that you didn’t expect. Take the time to consider other outcomes that are just as, and possibly even more, fulfilling than what you had imagined.
Be Willing to Surrender
so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”
Once you learn to surrender, knowing you have created a foundation in your own life that is stable and clear, surrounded yourself with people who genuinely love you and don’t wish to control you, then learn to let go. Surrender to the possibilities of what might be, what could be if we just become less rigid, uptight and demanding. Admittedly, there will be times when we are disappointed, but keep in mind we only have control over how we respond and behave in any given situation with any given person. Become a person that is secure in themselves, knows they can handle any situation they place themselves in and trust that positive energy begets more positive energy.