How Trying To Control Everything Controls You (and 6 Things You Can Control)

Control is an illusion. It is born out of fear-usually a fear of loss or pain. If we can control the events and people in our lives, we believe we can reduce the possibility of negative experiences. 

We try to control things through our worry, our overthinking, careful planning, research. We attempt control in avoiding, trying to predict every possible outcome, deceiving ourselves, justifying. We tighten the reins when we feel control slipping and our need to control actually begins to control us. What many of us don’t recognize until something happens that shakes us to our core and puts it all into perspective –we were never in control in the first place.

Life happens. People make life altering decisions that affect others. Bodies fail. Loved ones pass away. 

Life is so big. There are a million different factors tha create a million different possibilities-both good and bad. We have no control over most of it.

It is jolting to come to the realization that we can make all the plans we want with the purest intentions and they can be swept away in a second. 

It’s also the most liberating and peace giving mindset shift-once we accept how little we control, the weight of trying to control impossible things lifts. You can let it all go because it was never yours to carry.  Only then, can you turn the focus on the things you do have control over. Nurture those things. Focus on those things. Build there. When you focus only on your controllables, you learn to trust in yourself. There is a sense of calm when you know that whatever life throws your way, you will adapt and you will be okay.

What you can control

The people you choose 

Choosing the right people to surround yourself with is one of the best ways to bring yourself peace. The right people will walk beside you, show up for you, and validate you. Knowing you can trust and count on your people helps you know that no matter what happens in your life, your home team will face it with you. Choose people that are honest, authentic, and consistent in their behavior. 

What you give your energy to

While you can’t control many things, you have total control over who and what you pour your energy into. You give power to whatever you’re giving energy to. You can empower negativity, fear, and anxiety or you can put your energy toward building gratitude, love, and peace. 

Your effort

You are in control of how much work you are willing to put in to improve some aspect of your life. The more effort you invest into something, the more you will get out of it. 

Your thoughts

This one can take practice-especially if you suffer from anxiety or intrusive thoughts. You can control your thoughts by interrupting negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. You can choose to reframe something that is scary or frustrating and choose to think about it from another perspective. 

What you consume

Every day we are bombarded with messages through tons of different avenues-social media, advertisements, magazines, newspapers, music. The things we choose to consume have a direct impact on our well being. If you find yourself feeling like you aren’t enough, if the news gives you anxiety, if Facebook posts tend to irritate or annoy you-it may be time to rethink what you are consuming. Try giving your brain a break from input each day. Filter your social media ruthlessly-unfollow accounts that add no value to your well-being. If it makes you feel insecure, frustrated, depressed or anxious-get rid of it. 

Your response

There is so much power in the way you respond to life and that power belongs to YOU. You get to decide what your values are and then you can respond from a place of authenticity and alignment with who you want to be. We all feel things like anger, insecurity, hurt, disappointment. The events that trigger these emotions are not always in our power, but our response to them is.

As much as we want to believe that life is in our control, it only takes one life altering experience to understand that we have no more power than a fly in a hurricane. This knowledge, ironically, shows us exactly where we DO have control and allows us to use those things to design our life experiences as best we can.

Let go, a little at a time. Control what you can and let go of the rest. As counterintuitive as it feels, real peace is found not in the controlling, but in the letting go. 

This 5 Minute Daily Journal is a good place to start practicing putting focus on gratitude and controllables. Check it out here (I may receive a small commission for any purchases made from this affiliate link)

5 minute Journal

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