Control or let go?

Do you feel like you always have to be in control of people and situations? Do you try to control your own thoughts and actions? Or do you let others control you, what and how you do something, what to think and what to say or not to say? When is control good? When is it time to let go and let God?

Lately, I have come to conclusion that I have control issues. I always thought that by being the director of people and their actions, I could keep everything in order and be sure things are done right and on time.

Some people are easily controlled and are ok when someone makes all the decisions for them. Others are not that fond of being controlled. They resist, which leads to frustration on both sides: the controllers don’t get their needs met, and the controlled get angry and resentful.

My recent revelation was that my need to control came from my early teenage years. Growing up in an alcoholic, dysfunctional family, I had to grow up quickly and learn how to navigate life on my own when the situation at home was out of hand.

I continued doing well at school and even found time and desire to have hobbies. As soon as I learned about an opportunity to go to America and earn some money, I took steps to accomplish the goal of making the trip. Realizing that my goals were impossible to accomplish in one summer, I had to make a tough decision and stay in the US. That’s when I really had to keep everything under control.

For me, letting go of control creates anxiety and fear. I feel like the life that I have built so far will break to pieces, and I won’t be able to put it back together, if I let go of control. That is wrongful thinking. As much as I want to feel in control, in reality, I can’t change anyone or make them do anything without crossing their own boundaries. Who likes feeling inferior? No one, unless there is some kind of weird mental issue. Plus, God is the only one who is in control.

To create meaningful and loving relationships, I need to learn how to be gentle with and considerate of others. I don’t want to be feared or resented. I want to be loved and respected. That can only be achieved by letting go of control and learning how to let people be themselves, be open to discussion and negotiation, let others make mistakes and not shame them.

On the other hand, controlling our own thoughts and actions is probably the only way to let go of control of others. I have to catch myself these days right before I have an urge to make a passive-aggressive comment (which is one of the ways to control others) or rush everyone to get out of the house (while perfectly knowing that they will do it on their own pace).

If you are a controller and find yourself anxious and unable to relax, try to take some small steps towards relinquishing control. You might be surprised how capable people around you are to make their own decisions without hurting you or the situation in general.

Take a breather…

Let go and let God!


Author of Rocky Road to Recovery self-help memoir. Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

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