“When you try to control what you have no control over, you end up losing control of the little you controlled.”
We repeatedly feel the need to control our situations and closest people. We are constantly being bombarded by stereotypes of what we want from others, what we want in our lives and even in the construction of ourselves. And in that “infallible” attempt of being the way other expect us to be, we fall into the error of controlling ourselves, and therefore, controlling all those around to achieve whatever we want. That’s the catch.
We believe that the key of happiness is that everything is controlled, and that it will turn out the way we want them to. We believe that the “flow” is completely unimaginable, because off course flowing effectively will lead us to let go, and let go will lead us to start losing (people, situations, memories and in many occasions ideals) We are determined by many things, but above all, predetermined to listen to the constant rumination of our being on how to achieve an end like the one we have so longed for. It is never enough to take the road and it will always be easy to forget it. Why do we still believe that by controlling we ensure that the outcome will be, as we want? Because we are afraid of dangers; but we are not talking about the minor dangers, of those not; of the dangers of meeting our true selves, of the overwhelming silences and of the eternal questions with endless answers.
Control is nothing more than our eternal ally, who keeps us grounded because otherwise we would be flying without knowing what the limit would be, and something without limits is very dangerous. What a dilemma right? And that’s why control is considered very good for landing, but very dangerous when we realize that we did not enjoy the journey of the flight.
Psychoanalyst Karen Horney stated that unhealthy or “toxic” social environments, in which we have surely ever been involved, generate belief systems that will certainly be unhealthy. Therefore, those situations will not allow us to explore all our wonderful internal content. In many of these environments we are haunted by the “should I” and this is where control plays its leading role. But as a psychologist how would I define to you readers: What is the control? In my opinion it’s an internal voice who considers that in our power or in our own way of seeing, doing and thinking it, it’s the correct way. It turns out, that life is not a piece of furniture that you buy already designed with steps to follow to put it together; life surprises us and we must accept that: we cannot see, do or know everything and even have it all.
But then how do I let go of that need for control? Here is the wonderful question we all ask ourselves when we want situations to work in our favor.
5 essential premises that you must take into account to try to let go of control:
1. Accept and manage the suffering of life
The time you take to comprehend a difficult or painful situation/person will be determine by the degree of distress it produces. The longer we take to accept it, the more we suffer. We have been taught that suffering is bad or that feeling sad is wrong, and it turns out that life in general will always have difficult times and not because of that, we must avoid at all costs going through those sufferings. All suffering brings knowledge and wisdom. The faster you accept suffering; value(since it will always bring teachings) and assume it, the more freedom you will experience and therefore, you will release control.
2. Your happiness does not depend on
Understand this premise is so difficult for us. We believe that our happiness does depend on: that person that we love so much, that work/project/ideal that we long for, etc., etc., etc., NO. It will never depend on absolutely anything external. It sounds cliché, and repetitive, but once you understand that ONLY you have the ability to make you happy; to enjoy yourself from the moment you drink your tea/coffee in the morning until the end of your day, you will always be controlling even your entire exterior to find happiness. When you experience that the other one contributes to your happiness but does not build it, you will loose control.
3. Borderline situations confront us
It’s normal that circumstances that are difficult for us to assimilate or transcend, leads to “uncomfortable” or “unpleasant” emotions, but It’s in those situations where you know your true faces, you demonstrate what you are made of, what tools you have, and most powerful, those emotions tell you where the valuable things are. In those situations, where you want to control the most, you will be a judge, and if you become that judge who indicates how things should be, you will continue suffering. And what is worst, you will end up being more worn out not by the situation itself, but by your need for control. The more you look at borderline situations like unexplored lines and plotting them the way they have to be traced, you will let go of control.
4. Expectations are what disappoint you
Have you ever thought that the only reason you were disappointed about something or someone is because of the expectations you had about it? That’s right, you are disappointed because there was expectation in how things had to be, in HOW YOU WANT them to be, and off course, you lose yourself from really observing what they were and what they came to offer you. When you learn to observe people or situations as they are, you will stop having expectations and therefore, you will let go of control.
5. The value of being vulnerable and flowing
Brené Brown reminds us: “Today I will choose courage over comfort” and this is the last fundamental key to letting go of control and letting yourself go with what situations and relationships bring to you. We panic about the fact of being or feeling vulnerable, because we have an idea that it’s synonymous of weakness. On the contrary, to be vulnerable is to be free, you can show yourself sincere, real, and it’s only there where love, joy and understanding arises. Being vulnerable, you will let go of control.
There is no secret formula to let go of control more than accepting extreme situations, generating your own happiness, leaving expectations and being vulnerable. That will make you flow and enjoy the journey of that wonderful piece of furniture that is life.