We all have a natural desire for control. It’s a way of feeling safe and secure in an uncertain world. However, our need for control can sometimes be detrimental, causing stress, anxiety, and resentment. But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are benefits of letting go of control and, would you believe, there are some tips and strategies for surrendering it in different areas of our lives.
Understanding Our Need for Control
Our desire for control is often a response to uncertainty and fear. We want to be able to predict and influence the outcomes of situations and feel a sense of stability and security as a result. However, the reality is that we can’t control everything, no matter how hard we try (trust me, I’ve tried). And the more we try to control things that are beyond our control, the more we may feel frustrated and overwhelmed. In fact, trying to control everything can be a little like trying to herd cats. Good luck with that—I’ll pray for you.
Ways to Let Go of Control
So, how can we let go of our need for control and find freedom instead? Here are some tips and strategies to consider:
Practice mindfulness: Being present in the moment can help us let go of our need to control the future. By focusing on what we can control in the present, such as our thoughts and actions, we can let go of our attachment to outcomes. Plus, mindfulness can help us appreciate the little things in life, like the smell of fresh coffee or the feel of a warm sunbeam on our skin… or what’s happening in our favorite television show. (Yes, I know you are scrolling while watching—stop that!)
Set boundaries: Setting clear boundaries for ourselves and others can help us feel more in control of our lives. This can involve saying no to unreasonable requests, setting limits on our time and energy, and taking breaks when we need them. Just think of it as a way of telling the world, “Hey, I’m not a doormat! Can we not today, thanks!”
Seek support: It can be helpful to have a supportive network of friends, family, or professionals to lean on when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Sharing our struggles and receiving guidance and encouragement can help us let go of the burden of trying to control everything on our own. And who knows, you might even make a few new friends in the process. (Like actual friends in real life. Human, adult friends—don’t get me started on how hard that is to do in this day and age.)
Letting Go of Control in Different Areas of Life
Now that we’ve discussed some general strategies for letting go of control, let’s explore how to apply them in different areas of life:
Relationships: In relationships, it’s important to recognize that we can’t control others’ thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. By letting go of the need to control our partners or friends, we can create healthier, more authentic connections. Plus, it’s way more fun to be with someone who is their own person, rather than a carbon copy of ourselves. (For example: someone who knows what they want to eat when you ask them. “I don’t know, what do you feel like?” is not an answer, nor is it helpful. But in the spirit of this article, I’ll let this one go.)
Work: In the workplace, it’s natural to want to have control over our tasks and responsibilities. However, we can’t control everything that happens in the office. By letting go of our need to control every aspect of our work, we can become more adaptable and resilient in the face of change. And who knows, you might even surprise yourself by tackling new challenges and coming up with creative solutions. (This one was hard for me for many years. Then I learned that sharing the workload has its benefits, like less work, less stress, and more you time.)
Personal growth: Letting go of control can also be beneficial for our personal growth and development. By surrendering our need to control every aspect of our lives, we can be open to new experiences and opportunities for growth. Plus, it’s way more fun to try new things and take risks than to play it safe all the time. (I mean, every superhero does it in every movie and the world seems to turn out okay, so let’s try it.)
To wrap this up, letting go of control can be challenging but ultimately rewarding. By surrendering our need to control every aspect of our lives, we can find greater freedom, flexibility, and resilience. Plus, we might even have a little fun along the way. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of letting go of control, consider seeking out additional resources or support. Who knows, you might discover a whole new side of yourself in the process… hopefully it’s that you’re a superhero.
In the words of Frozen, “Let it go.”