People who train speedreading sometimes make great progress, and sometimes work very hard and make little progress. One of the groups of students who are struggling are the control freaks. There are several mistakes control freaks often make: fighting against the training methodology, trying to devise a different and less effective progress path, micromanaging the progress, mixing learning with obsessive thinking about learning. All of us make these mistakes occasionally, but control freaks make them all the time. In this interesting and creative post, a guest writer Alexandra Reay challenges the illusion of the control and hopefully will make some of us somewhat more open and accepting.
People love controlling their lives. When everything runs smoothly, according to our carefully crafted plans, we get a feeling of certainty and confidence. That is because control equals security, whether we refer to it as financial, social, or psychological. Making precise life plans gives people a sense of safe-and-soundness, which is a basic physiological need. The lack of it thereof will result in chaotic consequences – at least, according to our brains.
When we control our lives, we can easily guess the outcomes of our daily choices, so there is no room left for unwanted surprises. We know what will happen because we decided what course of action our lives will take.
But is this approach correct? Should we indeed plan every second of our lives out of fear of losing control? Leaving no space for unwanted surprises means reducing the space for spontaneous decisions, which utterly leads to a disturbingly tedious, well-ordered life plan.
Steve Maraboli, the author of Life, The Truth, and Being Free, shares his advice to the wide public. “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
So, let’s see what you can do to start living fearlessly.
Have an Introspective Dialogue
First and foremost, be honest with yourself. What are you afraid of? That is the first crucial question you should answer. Having a sincere conversation with yourself will open the doors to further inner knowledge. You’ll then be able to understand your true feelings and emotions, analyze them, and come up with a prompt solution.
“What do I fear it might happen if I let go of control?” Question the fact that things might get ruined if they don’t go the way you’d like them to. Let’s suppose you worry about your spouse wearing the wrong outfit to an important dinner. You cannot control how they dress like, can you? What could happen if they show up wearing those clothes? People might judge. So what? If you are happy with whom you’re dating, that is all that matters. Clothes are just items. So, in the end, ask yourself, “is it such a big deal if my partner wears what is not considered proper to this dinner?” Challenge those toxic thoughts and ask why.
Learn to Surrender
If you are attached to a specific, desired outcome, you are not fully enjoying the present moment. You have expectations. Surrendering means accepting the present moment as it is and having faith that everything will flow positively from now on. Do not have the impression that surrendering means being naively optimistic. It simply means trusting life.
My personal experience with surrendering is the ultimate example of how you should not act. All of my life I’ve been riding the control-freak rollercoaster. I would never give up expecting something out of people and wishing for things to go right. I could never surrender. I lived in fear and confusion for a very long time. I was never happy, never satisfied, always wanting more; until one day – when my partner left me.
That’s when I learned my life lesson; if I hadn’t, I would be insane by now. I choose to share this advice with you.
You cannot control other people’s thoughts, actions, or emotions. You cannot control how things unfold. You cannot control global warming, your boss’s disposition, or your parents’ reactions. You cannot control if someone stays by your side or leaves you. The single thing you can control is your own mind. Ask yourself these questions –
- What could happen if you let things go? If that happens, could you live with it?
- How would it be living every single moment of your life like there is no tomorrow? How would it feel seizing the day?
- What if you have no clue how your life will develop? What if every moment is a new experience that you live without having second thoughts or over-analyzing situations?
- What if positive change is about to happen but you’re too scared to let it occur?
Write it Down
“Writing your thoughts down is an excellent way to express your emotions and understand your feelings,” shares Dr. Daniel Wagner, psychotherapist and UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy. Through writing, you will learn to –
- Let go of your ego and start trusting people – you are an amazing human being, but so are others. You must share the spotlight with the people who deserve it. Learn to trust them and accept them as they are.
- Delegate your tasks to others – letting go of control is incredibly challenging. How about start to trust people at your workplace by delegating jobs?
- Accept it – writing things down will raise awareness towards your feelings and help you accept things as they are; sometimes, we are not fully aware of our emotions until we expose them and stop fighting back.
- Last but not least, give up controlling one part of your life – write down a goal for each month. For instance, “my biggest objective for January is accepting my partner as it is and not criticizing his or her looks.” You cannot control that, so you might as well start practicing the art of surrender by using this example. Stick the written goal on your wall and review it every morning.
“Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now,” writes Living Well Magazine. Practicing grounding daily is an excellent method of connecting with your higher self and letting go of control. When anchoring yourself in the present, your energy field expands, and you are given the power to take the right decisions for yourself without even realizing it.
Here are some methods that could help you practice –
- Meditate – breathe in, breathe out, repeat the pattern. Focus on your body and the smallest tingles you can feel. Be present! Let your body fill up with positive energy and release negativity.
- Take a bath! Focus on the water’s cleansing properties. Add some salt to it, or even crystals.
- If you find yourself in a difficult position, remember who you are and what your ultimate life purpose is. Why are you alive?
- Actively listen to people and be receptive to various conversations. Listen to all sounds of nature. Connect with your pet if you have one. Take long walks. Smile.
- Listen to music and be present!
Start Trusting People
As I mentioned previously, trusting people can be challenging, especially if you’ve been let down before. However, letting go includes this phase, so we must learn to trust again.
- Stay in the same place for at least one year – don’t change jobs, schools, cities if you want to develop this practice. Getting close to other people takes time and commitment. Give them a chance by staying exactly where you are.
- Create healthy habits – for instance, hit the gym or go running in the same park every morning; I’m sure you’ll recognize some faces and start making connections!
- Offer trust to get trust in return – don’t wait for other people to make the first step, be active.
Talk to a Friend
Chris Filbert, a freelance writer at AssignmentGeek and personal life coach, shares his opinion.
“If you have a hard time managing everything alone, reach out for help and support. Tell someone how you feel. Make sure that someone is trustworthy and has only positive intentions. If you don’t think this is your best option, there are others available – you could see a psychotherapist or join various meetings of people going through the same problems. Practicing meditation every day has its benefits as well, so consider it!”
Control takes many forms and has numerous disguises. If you want to experience true freedom, you must let go of control completely and focus solely on the present moment. True freedom means accepting what is and taking the necessary steps to include it into your life. If you are continuously unsatisfied with your results and overall life decisions, how are you going to succeed? How will you find the strength to keep moving? And the biggest question is, why would you?
Free will is not an illusion – it is you who decides your actions, emotions, and thoughts. Only you can decide how you feel. You are the only person who has this power, so use it wisely. Don’t let yourself influenced by other people’s words or actions. Do what you must do to become free.
Avoid being a control freak by practicing meditation and introspection, learning how to surrender, grounding yourself to the present moment, and finally, experiencing true freedom.
These seven tips will lead to harmony within yourself and develop resourcefulness and creativity in any unpredictable life circumstances. Enjoy them and use them with good judgment!
Alexandra Reay, an editor with a turn of creativity and with no borders for imagination.