Control is a fickle thing in our lives; there are things that we need to control, things we want to control, and things we have no control over. Control—more like a gray space than black and white—lets us feel like we maintain the power in our lives. It’s our way of choosing the when’s, where’s, why’s, and how’s of what is happening to us, around us, and for us. But like with all gray areas in life, sometimes it’s just simply out of our hands. The question to really contemplate here isn’t whether or not you have control, but if you’re willing to let it go. What happens when we let go of control?
I want you to know that the person offering you this advice is no stranger to the want or need for control. I’m as Type A as they come, and I desire control in almost every aspect of my life. But as I’ve grown in my intentional life, I’ve learned that the goal here isn’t to somehow gain control, but to create the space to release it.
If you’re someone who seeks control through structure, you’re not alone. I usually tend to share my personal experience with the week’s topic on the podcast. I reserve the blog for the more analytical approach to offer advice, how-to’s, and other information you can apply to your life. But, if you follow me on other platforms and keep up with me more personally, you know that I’ve been in a period of transition in my life. As I begin to get back to New York City, this period, more than any other time in my life, has tested my need and desire for control, requiring me to let it go, and trust.
How much do we REALLY Control?
This recent journey and moment in my life has made me realize that we desire control the most when we’re in a season of waiting. We have no control over the when, and often the how, when we’re waiting; it’s a time when we feel stuck and have no idea when what we’re waiting for will finally come. This need for control can stem from a lot of things. For me, I feel in control when I know I’m busy–my schedule is structured and I have hard deadlines for things. But when that control over timing dissipates, it’s as if all the structure does as well. But even when the structures and systems are in place, how much do we really control in our lives?
When we break it down to the granular–daily habits, routines, actions, thoughts, etc.–how much of that do we control. The actions we take and the thoughts we have are actually some of the only things within our control through the conscious and subconscious mind. But, when you factor in things that have to make those things happen, then the control begins to get a bit more blurry. For example, you may have every intention to wake up at 5 AM tomorrow, alarm set, excited, and ready to go. But what if the power goes out and your alarm doesn’t go off? Were you in control of the power working? Nope. When you add in the outside factors that have to go right for us to achieve something, things tend to look far more out of our control.
The Conscious and Subconscious mind
But as I said, the one thing we do have control over (almost all of the time) is our conscious mind. It’s the subconscious mind we need to worry about. I’ve recently been reading Mind Change by Heather McKean. In the book, she talks about how the subconscious mind stores what we believe to be fact, while the conscious mind interprets those facts to turn into actions. This process is also referred to as the NLP, or Neuro-linguistic Programming. The NLP stores our internal representation of events (what we believe to be fact) and then distorts them into our own belief systems. Our power over this system comes solely from our desire to either trust in our beliefs or change them.
Letting Go of Control
So, as I said, control is a pretty fickle thing. We often think we have control when in reality, we maintain power over very little of what happens in our lives. The physical control is almost always something that we can guide, but never completely maintain. But, we do have control over our thoughts. So what happens when we choose to believe something to be true? What you desire will come into your life. But, it’s important to note that this belief can’t come from a false facade to want to believe, but intrinsically hold doubt. This trust comes from a place of complete and utter confidence in yourself and the Universe to meet you halfway.
There is no structured system or process in place to tell you how to let go (believe me, I wish there were). Truthfully, we simply have to let the process unfold as it will. Suppose you’re someone who lives intentionally, meaning you practice affirmations, meditations, hold yourself accountable to your habits, routines, mindset, and goals. In that case, you will naturally arrive at a space where this becomes your belief system.
Will you go throughout life never desiring control again? No, of course not. But, will you live by the mindset that if you cannot control the when, where, how, and why — you hold the belief that it’s in the Universe’s hands, and you’ve done enough.
Steps to Take
I know this isn’t as tangible of advice as I often give you. So if you’re looking for more structure, as we previously discussed, here are some actual steps you can take to let go and trust more wholly in the Universe. Insert time for more meditation and listen to your affirmations. Let go of the future mindset, especially in a season of waiting. Learn to live more in the present moment by inserting more time for fun, relaxation, and rest. And finally, take accountability for yourself. Recognize where you’ve put in the work and perhaps where you can do a bit more. Letting go and simply trusting will change your life.
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