Updated: Sep 4, 2020
It’s exhausting trying to control situations or people especially when we still don’t get the outcome we want. So what are we really trying to achieve, and why is it so hard to let go?
We all like to feel like we’re in control of our life. It’s completely natural and normal to feel this way. Who wouldn’t want to feel in control of their own destiny?
But more often than not we feel completely out of control, despite our best efforts. Especially now, as it can feel like the way we live our lives is dictated by ever changing rules and regulations. Our freedom is restricted. “They” seem to be making decisions on our behalf. No-one knows what’s going to happen. We can’t plan. Or plans have been changed for us.
We go into overdrive trying to second guess what might happen next month or next year. We try to keep the same routines which no longer work so well. We suggest, advise and nag in an attempt to keep our loved ones safe. Plans are changed, re-planned and changed again.
Where are we going wrong? The thing is, we’re trying to make an outcome match the result we want in our head. When we try so hard to control an outcome and the end result isn’t what we wanted, it can cause disappointment, anxiety, stress and emotional pain.
One reason for this is that human brains are hardwired to link uncertainty to fear. In my blog 5 Ways to Cope with Uncertainty I talk about how fear of the unknown triggers our fight or flight response putting our mind and bodies into survival mode.
We like comfort, familiarity and certainty. And life is making that very difficult for a lot of people right now.
The truth is life was always unpredictable, uncertain and changeable, but the difference is that before the Pandemic there used to be some sense of the way things usually worked that was enough to give us the illusion of certainty and control.
So when we’re trying to be in control, what we really want is a sense of certainty and safety.
This is why I believe you need to re-think what it means to be in control for you, and focus on where your real power lies – in your own mind.
What does it mean to be in control?
The dictionary definition of control is “to order, limit or rule something or someone’s actions or behaviour”.
Do you really want to be ordering, ruling or limiting someone else? If you’re a power-crazy narcissistic sociopath or a global dictator then maybe you do. But I doubt you’d be reading my blogs….