Thoughts on control and letting go
Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress. – Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go
No, this is not a post about Princess Elsa- but she does have a good thing going with "let it go" as it relates to our futile efforts to predict and direct each situation in our lives.
A common theme within psychotherapy has ties to control. Control finds its' way in to all areas of life; from our relationships to the way we maintain our bodies or our households or the way in which we parent and especially in the thoughts we often come to believe about ourselves and others. When we look at anxiety, in whatever context it lies in, we notice it is about something(s) we try to keep a tight grip on or feel we have no power over. Is my house/car/children clean enough, pretty enough, behaved well and achieving up to expectation in all circumstances? Is this or that worst case scenario going to happen to me or someone I know today?
What happens when we release some of the grip we have on control in areas of our life? Does even thinking about loosening your grip make you fearful? Recently, I came across an analogy about control that gives great imagery to this situation. Imagine a water balloon filled with water in the palm of your hand. If you have a tight grip around the water balloon, it could burst in your hand or possibly pop out of your hand and burst on the ground. If you gently loosen the grip a bit, but still provide the stability of your hand and fingers, the water balloon finds its' equilibrium and stays put. (If you find this article, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.)
Most of us like to have stability and predictability in some, if not all areas of our life. When we impose our tightest grip, often we find things go haywire or end up disappointing us. and we are left wondering where WE went wrong. Acknowledging those things that are out of our control to BE out of our control, can often give us freedom to invest our energies elsewhere.
I invite you to identify one area or situation in your life this week that you can loosen or even let go, of your grip and put that energy somewhere more productive; maybe on some self care perhaps or enjoying those in your life for who they are.