There is a universal truth which exists that there are certain things that lie just outside the reach of our realm of control. No matter how hard our human nature pushes us to reach these aspects of our lives, we simply will never be able to control each and every thing about our days. This constant frustration that is left when we cannot control a certain situation can be quite draining on our brains and our emotional health and causes a lot of undue stress.
Learning to let go of the things that you will never be able to control is necessary in order to achieve a sense of calm in your life. There are some strategies that you can employ to assist you in adopting this ‘let it go’ type of attitude. This article will outline a philosophy to help you overcome the need to control every aspect of the world around you.
What is in your control?
The first step in letting go of the things that you cannot control is understanding what those aspects are. In any given situation, quickly evaluate what it is that you do have control over. Understand and accept those values right off the bat to alleviate the stress of being a bit out of control in other aspects.
The following list are the things you, generally, can control or work on mastering.
• Who you will be when “life happens”
• Your mindset
• Your thoughts
• Your actions
• Your behaviors
• How you interpret situations
• How you react
• Your perception of life
• The life you choose to live
• The activities you choose to engage in
• How you manage stress
• Your development and personal growth
• How you react to people, places and things
• Your life choices
• The people you choose to let into your life
• What risks you take
• How you treat your children
• How you treat your partner
• Your choices in anything
• Your decisions
• Your attitude
• How you define success in life
• How much effort you put into getting what you want
• How much time you spend worrying
• Growing yourself
• How you preceive "failure"
• Your honesty level (both with yourself and others)
• How you deal with your feelings
• How well you prepare for bad weather, traffic, etc.
• Being kind, compassionate and helpful
• How you treat yourself
• Honing the ability to let go
• How much you think about your past
• How much you fixate on the future
• Your negativity or positivity
• How much you love yourself
• When and if you ask for help
• Your creativity
• Your communication skills
• Your intimacy skills
One good example is when your teenage child is beginning to drive and this situation can feel a bit out of your control (and I've done this with at least 5 of my kids over the last 11 years--I have the grey hairs to prove it too!). In this situation, what can you control?
- When your child has access to a vehicle.
- Where your child is allowed to drive.
- Who is allowed in the vehicle with your child.
Among many other aspects, these are a few things in this situation that you do maintain control over.
You do not have control over the other drivers on the road. Accepting that information up front is a good tip for overcoming the stress that goes along with losing this control.
Focus on Yourself
Sometimes you are in situations where more than one person holds the control over the aspects of your environment. Your workplace, for example, is an area where there may be some shared ability to control certain aspects of your day. Understanding where your influence is welcome and where it is not is a great step toward overcoming the stress of the need to control.
Set boundaries for yourself and only allow yourself to think about the areas which you are able to influence or control.
Understand Your Fears
For the most part, our need to control things stem from negative experiences we have had in the past. This means that fear is the driving force behind this behavior.
Facing these fears is important for overcoming the need to control things.
If you can understand the fear that you are working with, then it will be easier to accept that you cannot control every single aspect of your life. Facing these fears is important for overcoming the need to control things.
Manage Your Stress through Healthy Means
People who are able to let go of the innate need for control tend to have healthy outlets for overcoming stress and anxiety. Participating in yoga, meditating, and self-care are all positive methods for naturally reducing stress and anxiety in your life. By reducing stress and anxiety you are more likely to be accepting of the situations you find yourself in on a daily basis.
Adopting a positive mindset is the last important step in overcoming the need to control certain aspects of your life. By being positive, you are more likely to accept the things that cannot be altered within your life experience. That doesn't mean to supress your less positive emotions, it means to try and see the good or the blessings even in a bad situation. A positive mindset can make a big difference in the overall experience of your life.
Until next time, many blessings and much peace! xo