Letting go of the need for control is one of the (many) things I have to consistently work on to achieve positive results.
My default setting is that I want to feel in control of how things will turn out — control of a trip that I’m on, of a project I’m handling, how a conversation will go or even getting my dogs to “go” in a timely manner..
Often, it becomes more frustrating than the way I had imagined it could be ~ IF I were truly in control.
For starters, I don’t think we can ever really control how things will turn out. We might think we do, but how often do things actually turn out exactly the way we’ve planned?
I know my life has been a series of unexpected outcomes, despite my best intentions to get to certain goals. Even the goals that I reach turn out to be much different once I achieve them than I had originally planned.
This has mostly been the case for this year — 2015. When we rolled over into a new year on January 1, I had no idea what this year would bring… health concerns for my mom resulting in 19 trips to Savannah so I could handle things in her best interest, the sale of our home in Roswell, a relocation and relaunch of our Real Estate Careers in Savannah, and a myriad of smaller less notable but certainly definable changes. Had I known, I may have rolled over and covered up my head :).
Through this journey, I’ve found that when I want to control the outcome of things, I become more anxious and tense. I’m less happy with how other people do things, less happy with myself, and less relaxed in the moments that I ordinarily would be able to enjoy. My relationships and responsibilities suffer because I am preoccupied with how I “think” things ought to be or how they ought to turn out.
So how do I deal with this reoccurring struggle? What I am discovering is that I am unable to stop myself from wanting to control things. I can’t even stop the urge to control outcomes from coming up in me. So I have to just notice the desire to control things, and let the urge happen. I have learned that I don’t have to act on urges that arise in me, especially if they are truly not the best for me or for the ones most important to me.
I’ve found this to be easier said, than done. My goal is to remind myself to see the urge, not as a command that I am required to follow, but simply a suggestion from the child within me. I can then be aware to look for the good things that can come from the situation, even if it’s uncontrolled. I don’t need to control things to enjoy them, I can just let them happen.
That said, I still take action. There are things I can control that have a positive effect on me and hopefully, on those important to me. I can look up information regarding a trip I’ll be taking simply because I’m curious and can then be aware of what opportunities may be available to me on a new adventure. I can be free to let conversations flow naturally. And my furry friends can take their leisure in enjoying being outside without me pressuring them to “hurry up”. These are all simply stress-management exercises from which I can greatly benefit.
I can experience the freedom of letting go when I realize I have a choice: I can choose to try to control the outcome, or I can trust in the moment.
I choose trust.
Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Wife and Mom