How often are you left feeling frustrated, stressed, anxious, or even angry because the things that you thought you had control over didn’t turn out as you wanted?
Yeah, as the saying goes, s… happens! And when unexpected stuff happens that is beyond your ability to control, what do you do…. let it ruin your day, your week, or the rest of your year.
You may think I’m joking about the year thing, however, I know people that still harp on and on about something that happened years ago that ‘ruined their life!’ And I’m sure you all know people in that category as well – worse still, maybe it’s you?
If it is you, I would like to ask you a few questions…
How much do you benefit when you go on and on about something that didn’t turn out as you wanted it to?
Do you think that you can manage everything in your life to turn out the way you want it to be?
Why do you think it is your job to try to control other people, events, and the circumstances happening around you?
And…. How’s it all working out for you so far?
The Need to Try to Control Everything Can Cause Un-Necessary Suffering
I know it feels good when we have an intention, put in some effort, and have things work out as we wanted. It conjures up feelings of accomplishment and we get to appreciate our ability to create specific outcomes.
We feel good, successful, and in control of our lives when our dreams and goals come to fruition…. We can rest easy because it is we who are in control of our lives, so there’s no need to worry, feel stressed, or be anxious. Great!
Yes, it’s all great until something doesn’t work out the way we planned….. and then ‘the s… hits the fan!’ What, are you going to have a meltdown, beat yourself up for ‘failing,’ or just annoy everyone who you come into contact with by telling them how unfair life is?
Every time you engage in any of these behaviors, it’s a no-win scenario for you and for anyone else who gets in your way! You are the one who suffers… and you are often suffering because you are trying to control things that are beyond your ability to control.
In other words, you are suffering needlessly…. And fortunately, there are better alternatives to you being a victim of self-inflicted suffering.
I know many of you will say that your suffering is a direct result of what other people did or didn’t do and therefore it’s not self-inflicted. If only they had done this or didn’t do that, things would have worked out as you had wanted and everyone would be happy (well, at least you would be happy.)
Maybe it wasn’t a person or people, but an event like unexpected rain at an outdoor wedding, or your flight was canceled so your family cannot go on holiday as planned.
It doesn’t matter what the reasons for not having control over a situation or outcome are, if the result is that you get stressed, anxious, or angry, then this is an issue that you will benefit from learning how to deal with it better.
People Generally Want To Control Everything So They Have More Control Over Their Emotions.
When you’re in control, you’re generally feeling happy, content, and satisfied. When you’re not in control, it feels like your world is crashing down all around you.
The common issue here is Your Emotions….. Yes, it’s your emotional state that determines the quality of your life at any given time. Your emotions are not under your control and instead of learning how to manage them appropriately, you are trying to manage or control your environment so that you will be pleased with what is happening around you.
However, the stuff happening in the surrounding environment is dynamic and always changing. And therefore, it is something that you will never be able to always manipulate to get the outcomes you want.
So, wouldn’t it be easier if you just took a look at the one thing you can predictably learn to control? …. and that is your emotional responses to the people, events, and circumstances happening in your life.
It’s important to understand that if you want to feel happy, you need to be having thoughts that promote feelings of happiness…. And this is definitely not the case when you are worried or stressed because stuff is not turning out as you had hoped!
How Can You Let Go Of The Need To Control and Become Happier Now?
Learning to let go of the need to control everything can be a challenging journey, especially if you have been at it for most of your life already. However, it’s an important journey to undertake as it will lead to greater happiness and satisfaction in your life.
Here are some proven strategies that can help you on your journey toward greater emotional freedom and a more fulfilling life.
1) Focus on the stuff you can control: It stands to reason that if you’re trying to control stuff and it’s not working out for you that you will become more stressed and anxious and you will have less time to spend on the other things that are important to you.
Once you turn your attention to the stuff that you do have control over, you can suddenly become a lot more successful and a lot less stressed. The people around you will also benefit as you will be a nicer person to spend time with.
2) Learn to Embrace Uncertainty: As I mentioned before, we live in a dynamic universe where stuff is constantly changing…. and the reality is that we have no control over most of it!
It becomes very exhausting to continually put your energy into:
– trying to control people so that they will behave in a way that you find acceptable,
– plan the perfect party only to have the caterers let you down,
– or paying for the best education for your kid only to discover that they aren’t even trying.
A much better strategy is to plan for the best all the while acknowledging that things are not always going to turn out as you desire….. If things work out as you had hoped, great, and if not, accept it and just move on… there’s no point losing sleep over the stuff you had no chance of controlling in the first place.
3) Understand What You Are Afraid Of: The need to control others often stems from fear…. fear that they are not capable or that don’t understand what your desired outcome is.
However, other people are not you! And this means that they won’t have the same standards that you have and also that they may even want different outcomes to the ones you have your energy invested in.
If so, ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen…. I mean, is the world going to end because you don’t get what you want? Or, you don’t get what you want but maybe someone else does…. Should you consider this to be a negative outcome, or can you allow yourself to be more accepting of the situation?
4) Practice Mindfulness: Most modern fears stem from thinking about stuff that hasn’t even happened yet. It’s not like in the old days when our ancestors while out hunting, had to run away from the lions and tigers to survive.
Much of our fears and anxiety are based solely on thoughts we are having about the uncertain future, while our depression is based on regrets we have about the past. And the best way out of these issues is to bring your thoughts into the present moment.
Learning and continuing to practice mindfulness and meditation will help you train your mind to remain in the present moment. When you are in this moment, you are facing reality as it is, and are therefore not rehashing the past or having unhelpful thoughts about the future.
5) Learn to Delegate: Feeling like you have to control everything is very taxing on your emotions and energy levels. However, allowing others to ‘share the load’ will allow you more time and freedom to do other things that are important to you as well as lessening your stress levels.
6) Recognize the Negative Impact that Control Has on You: Being controlling is very stressful. It requires a lot of attention to everything that is going on all the time…. because God forbid, if you relax your control, someone is sure to do something that doesn’t meet your approval!
That is just really hard work! It causes you stress, anxiety, fear, etc… and these negative emotions do take a toll on your health. They make you sicker!
And what is just as bad is the negative impact they have on your relationships and the stress and frustration they cause in other people. Because let’s face it, If you’re a control freak, other people are either going to become stressed in trying to live up to your expectations, or they are not going to enjoy being in your company… so they may find reasons to be anywhere else.
7) Be More Accepting of Yourself: Learning to let go is a journey… it’s not something that is going to happen overnight! So you need to learn to be compassionate of yourself and the makes you make along the way.
With time and practice, you will learn the strategies that work best for you as well as what doesn’t work. By being kind and compassionate to yourself, you will benefit a lot more from the journey that you are on……
It helps when you recognize and celebrate each small victory that you make along the way… each time you are successful, your satisfaction with life increases…. And this means that you win as do the people around you.
8) Seek Help If Necessary: If you already recognize that your desire to control everything is harming your life, you have already made a breakthrough, so congratulations.
However, recognizing that you would be better off if you were able to let go of the need to control, and doing something about it, are two different things.
If you are still struggling, maybe it’s time to consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. A suitably qualified person will be able to help you work through any underlying issues that you may have that are keeping you stuck in repeating your controlling behavior.
Online therapy is growing in popularity these days as it is more affordable and more convenient than having to go to a therapist’s office. You can choose from thousands of qualified mental health practitioners and connect when it’s convenient for you by video chat, phone calls, and texting for immediate help with any issue you are facing. Check out Online-Therapy.com and get 20% off with this link > > >
When you learn to devote your time and energy to the things that you can control, you will have a much better life!