“Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.” – Jackson Kiddard
Have you ever wanted something/someone so badly but you felt like you couldn’t do anything about it?
How would you describe your state during those times?
Chances are that you experienced one or more these emotions: frustration, neediness, helplessness, powerlessness, irritation, desperation, anxiousness, nervousness, etc.
Before you beat yourself up for feeling this way, you should know that your feelings are perfectly normal. Most people experience inner turbulence whenever they feel unable to control an outcome that’s important to them. That’s because we humans dislike the unknown because we perceive it as a threat to our survival. We tend to associate control with security and even power.
Just think about it – our caveman ancestors used to live in highly unpredictable environments, fraught with imminent threats such as predatory animals, other human clan rivals, weather fluctuations, and several others. Having some semblance of control during those times was critical to survival.
Nowadays, things are relatively safer, but our response to uncertainty hasn’t changed. We still have a need to control our environment. The possibility of losing a job or a business deal or being rejected by someone we fancy is not going to kill us, but we may feel as if it could.
I know how hard it is to maintain perspective when you’re enraptured by strong desires. Although my ambitious streak drove me to work hard, it also caused me to agonize over whether or not they would work out. When they didn’t go according to plan, I felt defeated.
Life seemed unfair and I took on a victim mentality. I eventually stepped out of my bubble of melancholy and saw that the world does not operate according to my rules. At any given time, our personal agenda is influenced by an infinite number of forces, most of which we are incapable of picking up on.
Yet the idea that we live in an impersonal, random and unpredictable universe can be a real downer. A better approach is viewing life as a co-creative process. Even though we can’t influence the ultimate outcome, we can use our free will to control our responses – that is where our true power lies.
Adopting a spiritual outlook provides a psychological cushion to cope with our perceived lack of control. It comforts us with the notion that there is a divine order behind everything that occurs in life and that there’s a reason why things happen the way that they do. It’s reassuring to know that there’s a benevolent force that’s got our back and supports our personal evolution.
No matter what your spiritual beliefs are, if you want to get rid of your need for control, you have to learn the art of letting go. We’ll never be able to experience true inner peace if our minds are constantly gripping on the hand bars of the roller coaster of life, trying to anticipate all the falls, twists and turns.
Control is an illusion that’s sourced from our ego. Whenever we’re faced with an aspect of our lives that isn’t ideal, making peace with reality is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves. We need to let go of our need to control the outcome. In Buddhism, this inner process is known as “surrendering”.
Buddhism teaches that our pain and suffering can be released once we let go of craving and attachment. When we fully understand that all things in life are impermanent and without eternal substance, we’ll be able to detach and enjoy a sense of freedom and bliss.
A detached mindset will transform how you experience of all aspects of your life. When you allow yourself to be open to whatever life throws your way, you will experience these benefits:
1. You’ll stop worrying unnecessarily: Nothing good has ever come from worrying. It induces anxiety and is a major energy drainer. Whenever you worry, you operate from the frequency of fear, which will immobilize you. If we’re not careful, we can go down a tailspin of “what if?” loops and scary visions of all the possible things that could go wrong. The only way we can get out of this rabbit hole is by letting go of our fears and worries and replacing them with optimism and faith. As Walt Disney once said, “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”
2. You’ll feel more carefree and lighter: Once you acknowledge your worries and fears and you transform them into inspiration, you’ll instantly feel at ease in your heart, body and soul. When you let go of the crippling ways of a control freak, you’ll feel lighter because a heavy load has been lifted off your shoulders. Life becomes one big adventure and you’re an explorer, traversing all the pathways. The uncertainties of the journey no longer scare you but excite you and spur you on to take action.
3. You’ll have energy to focus on what you can control: Anxiety caused by the excessive need to control circumstances will zap your mental energy and focus. You can regain power by surrendering your control over a situation. You’ll realize that although you have no way of controlling the events or people involved in a certain situation, you do have control over how you feel and how you react. Based on what you know, you can create a plan and proactively follow through with it. You’ll feel more empowered knowing that you’ve done the best you could and you’re open to all possible outcomes.
4. You’ll attract synchronicities and opportunities: When we let go of control, we instantly open up to receiving guidance, by attracting the right people and circumstances to us. Our de-cluttered minds become more attuned to our intuitive senses and we become aware of opportunities and synchronicities that could lead us to lucky breaks. The act of surrendering will allow nature to take it’s course and bring you the experiences that are most beneficial to your personal growth and learning.
Letting go of control is, essentially, an act of faith. Faith can get us though foggy times of uncertainty and help us navigate through the dark valleys where we can’t see where we’re heading. Faith will illuminate our path and lead us down to our destiny, if we allow it to.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: Do you have a tough time making peace with things you can’t control? How do you usually react?
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