Emotional Self-Care: Letting Go of Control
Sabotaging Well Being
We live under the illusion that we can control situations. At least most of us do. That illusion sabotages our emotional well-being. In reality, the grip of control we imagine we’ve got, is a mirage. Learning to release control and live in flow is the beginning of emotional self care.
We’ve all heard the take-charge-of-your-life-gurus promising magical success formulas.
PLANNING + ACTION = desired results
The lure of guarantees
Yeah, of course, there is value gained in the planning process. But the lure of outcome guarantees can infect our thinking with an insidious virus. We begin to believe our formulas are imbued with power to manipulate the future to conform to our will.
The virus is real
I can attest to the affects of the 'I-Am-In-Control' virus.
Stressed, anxious and exhausted
I seriously jeopardized my emotional well being with stress, anxiety and exhaustion. I made the decision to open my clinched hands, and let the illusory reigns of control fall.
A fish parable
Consider the fish who swim in the mighty expanse of ocean.They swim along their merry way in the midst of uncertain, chaotic sea water. They hold no illusion that of control. They don’t conceive of thinking they can have influence over their course. They just swim. With acceptance, they flow, eat, hide, and mate. They live out their lives doing what they were created to do. Swimming.
What if we thought of ourselves more like the fish? What if we yielded more to the flow of life? I wonder how we might live more like this? Maybe we could start by pulling up the nails we’ve hammered around our goals? What if we held our hopes with an open palm?
How might loosening control make life look differently?
It's a process
Learning how to ‘let go’ is a process. And I’m certainly not such a simpleton as to insinuate we bear no responsibilities. I’m just wanting to be a voice of encouragement. Strive less. Trust more…and smile a lot more!
I wish I understood this much earlier. But, I believe in the maxim, ‘Better late than never!’ Life has a way of teaching us though. Slowly, and steadily it tries to help us grasp difficult lessons.
Over time, I think I’ve at least earned an associate degree from the School of Hard Knocks. I understand the power of figuratively drawing a circle around myself, saying, ‘This circle - the one around ME - is the only area I can truly control.’
Sometimes, I admit. I forget. I try to enlarge the circle. But I know when I’m forgetting Life’s lesson because angst arrives on the scene and peace is out the door! I redraw it - just around me! Then, just like that, peace returns.
The Serenity Prayer holds so much truth.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)