CONTROL…a 7 letter word that seems rather harmless.
For most people, they seek to add more control to their lives in order to stay on top of things or to have the “discipline” to achieve their goals.
Yet, control can actually have the opposite effect.
Trying to control every aspect of our lives (including the things that are out of our control), typically does indeed lead us where we think we want to go. This, unfortunately, makes us believe that control is a good thing.
However, what we don’t see is that by controlling all the pieces we stop ourselves from stretching further than we could possibly imagine. We end up living smaller than we’d like and we can’t even see that.
We congratulate ourselves on our control (some may even call it willpower in certain situations), yet, if we relaxed some of that control, we could do even more in our lives and turn up the dial on our living.
BREAKING DOWN THE IDEA OF CONTROL
For most people, we want to control all facets of our life. By doing so, we feel we have a better handle over things. It also allows us to feel more comfortable with ourselves because it allows us to control the outcome. If we know the likely outcome, we reduce the unknown, which reduces the fear that is naturally inside of all of us.
This fear of the unknown manifests itself in several ways. For some, it’s simply not knowing what’s ahead that is terrifying. For others, their fear is around the lack of control. In their minds, the lack of control means chaos and chaos is bad.
Before we dive into this deeper, let’s take a look at the definitions of control from dictionary.com (I left out the definitions that don’t apply to this specific topic):
As a Verb:
• to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command
• to hold in check; curb
• to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of
As a Noun:
• the act or power of controlling; regulation; domination or command
• check or restraint
• a legal or official means of regulation or restraint
Do you see a common thread between the various definitions: restraint
I don’t know about you, but when I think of my life, my goals, and how I want to live it, ‘restraint’ isn’t topping my list of descriptive words I want to use to describe it!
Don’t get me wrong…some control isn’t a bad thing. Control is useful for the areas of our life that we do want to exercise a little restraint: overspending, overeating, excessive drinking, etc.
But, control is not useful for areas where we want to flourish (not one of the definitions of ‘control’ is to eliminate or prevent the floorings of…).
Holding On with a Tight Fist
We hold onto our lives with a tight fist. By holding on so tight and trying to control every part of our lives, we’re actually being counterproductive. The tight grip stifles the ability for our energy to flow freely & to allow things to naturally unfold.
Think about it this way...imagine holding your hands out in front of you in a tight fist. Feel the energy it requires to hold your fist tightly balled. Now, release your fists and turn your hands palms up. Notice how effortless that feels. Imagine holding something in your fist vs. in your open palm. Which one is free to move about and even take flight? Not the one in your fist! It won't even be able to get fresh air or sunlight!
As a result of holding on so tightly, we miss signs along the way. The signs might point us to bigger steps, other options, new ideas, etc. that will allow us to blossom further and achieve more.
Holding on too tightly also might prevent us from seeing the signs that something isn’t really the right thing for us. We miss the signs and we keep chasing it anyway. When that happens, we feel it, but we misinterpret that as things slipping out of control and we tighten our grip even more. Not only do we waste our own precious time, but think of how much energy that requires!
When we keep such a tight grip on our lives, in addition to narrowing our view of our world, we also create a lot of stress in our lives. We put pressure on ourselves to stick within our controlled path. If we deviate or fail, we beat ourselves up because it didn’t go according to our perfectly controlled plan.
Most of us believe if we don’t exercise control, we have no path or plan, but that isn’t true.
Control is a function of living in our heads and being disconnected from our bodies. I just wrote about this topic the other day...when we connect our minds to our power we create magic within ourselves.
The sad reality is that control limits our view and our potential because we trying to control only what we can see. But, what we seek in life is typically outside of our view.
You will never get where you want to go if you continue to hold on so tightly to what you are limited in seeing.
Loosening your grip
Here's what happens when you loosen your grip:
• You feel a new softness in your life
• You feel a different energetic flow
• Things in your life begin to align
• You feel less stress
• You have a stronger sense of self and you know what is happening in your life is right
• You have a stronger trust in yourself
When you loosen your grip, your life softens...you soften. Without the tight hold, you ease into the right place, the right life. Think of control, or holding on tightly, like the Hoover Dam of your life. It's blocking everything from flowing smoothly downstream. Everything has to fight to squeeze through the limited space. By releasing your control and loosening your grip, the dam crumbles down and your life, your energy, starts to flow as it should.
At first, when things start to align you'll think it's an amazing coincidence. But, trust me, it's not. It’s just things happening as you’ve allowed them to unfold.
So...how does one loosen their grip on life?
• Trust in yourself
• Be curious and seek out what you don’t know
• Have the confidence to let go of what you see & feel isn’t working for you
• Drop into your heart space (click on the link above to my post on Power of Connecting Body and Mind for more discussion on this)
Words of Wisdom
When you start the process of loosening your grip you'll likely be uncomfortable and feel a little off track. It's not a natural state for most people because we're so used to being regimented and controlling. It will likely take conscious effort for awhile to loosen your grip.
This isn't something that happens overnight.
When you feel your control taking over, imagine your fists vs. your open palms. Remember the ease of the open palm and imagine yourself relaxing your grip. You may even want to hold your palms out in front of you and open them so they face to the sky to physically release your grip.
As I’ve been working on getting out of my head and living a more heart-centered life, I’ve naturally released my grip on life, but I’ve also mindfully worked on this and I can assure you, it will take work. When I approach things with open palms, it always flows more easily, I have more creative ideas, and there’s an inner sense of peace and joy (even when it’s not necessarily moving in the direction I imagined or originally wanted). Over time, the right path always reveals itself to me and it never ceases to amaze me at what I find.
As you ease into this way of living always remember that you've got this. Trust yourself and follow your heart, but for please, for the sake of all the things you want in your life, loosen your grip.