Life is constantly changing and you cannot predict the future. You cannot predict other people’s behavior. And that’s pretty scary to most of us. In the midst of this chaos we are looking for something to hold onto. Stability. An anchor. And because we feel unable to find this strength within ourselves, we look for it elsewhere.
We can try to control things directly linked to us. If we behave in a certain way, this will help us get through the day. We create habits that provide stability. Or at least, we think so. But in fact, these habits are controlling us. We tell ourselves we need to put on make-up before we leave the house. We need to dress perfectly for the occasion (even when we hate that black skirt, we just have to wear it to that meeting). We need to eat in a certain way. We need to put on our right sock before the left sock. We feel scared when we see a black cat crossing the street. What was it again we had to do in this occasion?
Think about it… what happens when we put our faith and our feeling of safety outside ourselves?
We give away our power. We let go of our responsibility to ourselves. We give up on ourselves because we do not believe in ourselves.
But what can really happen if we let go of that control. What can really happen when we accept the situation as it is? What will happen when we just experience the emotions we feel, without judging or rejecting them? What would really happen?
The need for control
My life is changing and it’s going fast. It’s a rollercoaster and each time I think I’ll get a break, the rollercoaster appears to have another gear. I go faster and higher, upside down and downside up, until I feel dizzy and confused. Emotions take over, but I don’t want to feel scared, sad or alone… so I try to find control.
When my boyfriend has contact with other girls for example, I feel exposed to feelings of insecurity. Maybe he will like this new girl better than he likes me. Maybe he has a great time while I’m back home, taking care of family stuff. So what do I do? I try to control the situation. I ask him to be home by a certain time. I want to know exactly what his plans are. I think I create security for myself, but actually I make things more difficult. The more rules I create, the more rules another person can (unintentionally) break. Especially when I do create these control measurements, but only in my own mind without expressing them to the person concerned. Which I do. I can expect my partner to clean up his stuff (=controlling his behavior) and become very disappointed when he crashes on the couch feeling exhausted after a long day’s work.
Facebook: control freak Walhalla
I really love Facebook. It’s the perfect medium for finding new friends or reconnecting with old ones. You can share special moments and feel really connected, even if it’s only online. But Facebook is also an energy thief. You can check on another person’s every move. When you are a control freak, it can take you all day to keep an eye on everything your friends do.
When I really like someone, I feel vulnerable. What if this person doesn’t like me? What is s/he does? Oh my, I feel exposed to a lot of possible hurt… So I try to create a feeling of security by holding on to stuff I can control. I might check Facebook way too many times too see status updates or with whom the person of my interest is communicating with. Re-read the messages sent to me and check if I interpreted them well. On bad days I’ll see proof that this person doesn’t like me in everything s/he says or does (or worse: doesn’t do). On good days too actually. Only on very good days I might be satisfied with the situation and be able to loosen the reins of my little inner control freak.
The control freak approach costs a lot of time, energy and doesn’t make me feel better. On the contrary. Because I feel insecure I look for confirmation outside myself. But that’s not working. I guess it would only work if everybody else’s lives would be centered on mine. Honestly, it would make me very nervous if the world worked that way.
So I decided to let go. Switch off Facebook for most of the day (okay, I’m trying). Not sending messages to friends and liked people multiple times a day (let them live their life for goods sake) and when I send a message, I’m not trying to send hidden clues that I reallyreallyreally need affirmation that I’m still liked and loved.
And it’s hard.
It feels like letting go of an addiction. An addiction to confirmation.
My fingers are itching and I want to send messages to a whole lot of people and not tell them they need to tell me that they still like me but I can’t tell it like that so I need to send clues and wait impatiently until they send me a message so I should keep Facebook opened and my phone nearby and….
Breathe in. Breathe out.
I don’t need ANYONE to tell me I’m awesome. I only need to FEEL I’m absolutely, incredibly awesome. I need to stop running away FROM myself, and start looking INTO myself. And give that warm heart a hug.
Let go off the cliff and get a life
This need for control feels like I’m hanging on the edge of a huge cliff. My fingers try to get a grip on the rocks. My hands are cramping from trying not to let go. Still, I’m not safe. I can fall any moment. Looking down I see a lot of space. I’m afraid to fall. I will definitely hit the ground hard and die. Or at least experience an awful lot of pain. I’m totally convinced that letting go is the worst option.
But I forget that letting go is not synonymous to pain, hurt or death. I might discover that there is a parachute on my back. I will fall, but I will be descending smoothly with a beautiful view and time to time to think about life on my way down. When I land, I know I will change things. I realize I’ve learned a great deal from going down.
I might also discover that there are wings growing from my back. When I let go, I’m not falling. I can even fly higher than I was while holding on to the external stability! I can see where I was. I can also see the scenery and the overall picture. The world didn’t burst into a huge chaos. People are living their lives. And I’m doing fine. While I expected to experience a lot of stress and insecurity from letting go, I find that it’s nice and peaceful. My mind can stop focusing on what I don’t control and don’t know, and start focusing on my own life and wellbeing.
So trying to get a grip on my life through control does not relieve me from insecurity and chaos. Control keeps me small and stuck. I know I have to love myself but I feel insecure and don’t know where to start. How do I liberate myself from stuckiness?
Get yourself together and take a step. Literally. Take on your shoes (or not), open the door, take a breath and start putting one foot in front of the other. Take a look around you and see beautiful things. Even when you are in a place you rather wouldn’t be. Even when it’s raining. Start appreciating little things. A flower, a bird, a pretty house, a smiling person passing you by, someone secretly singing, a cloud is the shape of a heart or just the feeling of being alive.
Become aware that control is an illusionary state of the mind you have created. A secret place where you thought you would be safe. Once you hide, you don’t feel safe at all. You feel caged. But you have the key in your hand. Outside the cage lies freedom, even if the planes are spacious and you cannot see how far they stretch. You don’t see any danger, but who knows where the lions are hiding?
You’re not prey. Life isn’t the predator.
Life is like a book, and you are the author. Will it be horror or will it be a fairytale? It’s all up to you. Be aware that life is generous and resources are limitless. You get what you ask for.
By thinking life will bring you nothing but troubles and misery… that’s what life will generously bring you. By being open to happiness and joy, ánd being open for receiving… that’s what you’ll get.
So try to let go of the control that you believe keeps you safe. Loosen the reins and experience that actually… it’s not so bad on the other side. It’s not so bad to stop putting energy into a bottomless well of insecurity and fear. Rather invest your energy in your own wellbeing.
Enjoy your flight!