Control is such a tricky issue for many of us.
You can’t control what happens to you. But you’re 100% in charge of how you respond to whatever happens to you.
When we feel that we’re not in control we can become fearful, which makes us feel unsafe. It’s logical for us to unconsciously believe we have to try to control others or anything that is happening around us in order to feel safe again.
We try so hard to control a variety of things. We try to force. We can be desperate for things to work out the way we want them to.
We use up a lot of energy in doing this and in trying to protect ourselves – energy that can be freed up for other things.
If you’re anything like me you may have spent a large part of your life trying to stay in control. Staying on top of things and steering them in a certain direction, so that you feel safe and secure. Believing this is the way to get ahead, to prevent disaster and to feel confident and good about yourself – to feel ‘in control’!
Then a crisis of some sort comes out the blue, and you realize you’re not in control at all. You never were.
“I release control and I surrender to the flow of life.”
You are forced to release control and surrender to the flow of life. You are forced to hand back that illusion and walk your way through this new terrain with some semblance of grace. This has been a very humbling experience for me, on multiple occasions now!
I had no choice but to realize that I wasn’t in control of so many of the things I hoped to take a strong hold on.
Eventually, I saw the gifts. I felt the relaxation that this kind of surrender and trust can bring – no longer trying to over-effort, push or force things; no longer believing it was all on my shoulders.
It was a welcome relief, and scary, all at once.
I see now that in trying to surrender and in trying to learn this foreign, new way of being, I seemed to forget that there were many things I did actually have control over.
I slipped into the ‘I can’t control any of it so why even try?’ mode. ‘Just let it be, go with the flow’. And I love this approach. But I forgot that I can still choose to focus on what’s really important to me as well. I don’t need to just drift aimlessly.
It became very clear that we need to see the distinction between what we can and can’t control.
I found that what I can’t control includes other people – their thoughts, feelings and behavior; bereavement and loss, the outcome of anything I put effort into – how it actually turns out, and the weather!
What I can control includes how well I look after myself, what I prioritize and focus my attention on and my own attitude, beliefs and actions.
Although really simple, this seemed like a very illuminating exercise.
I realized there are actually plenty of things I do have control over. And I can spend as much time and energy as I want on any of those things, depending on what’s most important to me.
I can create a life that reflects me. I can be the person I want to be. I can make myself proud and live life to the full, in whichever ways are most personally meaningful.
There is so much power in this.
And I also saw that there are other things – big things – that we have absolutely no control over. And devoting time and energy there is futile. Yet so often we do.
By recognizing this distinction and asking ‘Is this within my control?’ or ‘Are elements of this within my control and others not?’ we can change our lives for the better.
It’s so important to seek inspiration and truth and to take action on what we find. But it’s also really important to let go. To realize when we’ve done enough and to move aside – to allow the seeds we’ve planted time to grow, without jumping in and interfering before they’ve had a chance to – to trust in the right timing and to let life catch up.
We can leave some of the heaviness and weight behind. We can release control and let go, to the best of our abilities, of the things we can’t control – recognizing that we’ll never change them anyway. And devote our time and energy to the things we really can have a big influence on.
So release control and let go where you need to.
Take the reins and positively influence the areas you can.
Ask the ‘Is this within my control?’ Question regularly and feel the wisdom, peace and personal power that come from knowing the difference.