“The paradoxical nature of control is that to gain control, you must relinquish the need for it. We all want to feel in control of what happens, but that is an impossibility,” says Monica Berg, spiritual thought leader and author.
“We put a lot of focus on what we can’t control. Everything you have written down in your calendar or schedule gives you the illusion of control,” she continues. “Don’t get me wrong! I love my routines and my carefully scheduled calendar. Structure and planning not only get me through the day—they also help me achieve my goals.
“The problem isn’t in the planning and organizing but in how we respond when life breaks our carefully planned days.
“Setting aside our illusions of control opens us up to greater joy and appreciation of each moment. When we aren’t anticipating what comes next, we are fully living in the now,” Monica says.
However, that’s a lot easier said than done for many of us.
“Many try to control their lives by creating systems, lists, routines, rigid schedules—you name it—to impose a bit of order and combat the specter of the unexpected,” Monica explains. “When we focus too much on things that are out of our control, that means we are giving over our energy to those things instead of what we can control.
“It’s a bit self-defeating to put so much energy into things that are beyond your control, and when they don’t go the way you planned, it can leave you feeling powerless or like a failure. But these are things you never had control over in the first place. Putting focus here can really wreak havoc on your emotional state.”
She gives these examples of things that are out of our control:
● You can’t force people to be cheerful, kind, considerate, or even respectful.
● You can’t control how people feel about you, think about you, or talk about you.
● You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s happiness or disappointment. Their emotional life is beyond your control.
● You can’t control your partner, children, family, friends, or even your pets.
“Letting go should be easy,” Monica says. “There is no work inherent in letting go—it’s the opposite of work. And yet, so difficult!”
Her go-to list of things to let go of immediately:
● taking things personally
● caring about what others think
● needing to be “perfect”
● trying to be something you’re not
● waiting for the time to be right before pursuing your dreams
“What do these have in common? They are all examples of us trying to be in control of things that are inherently out of our control,” Monica says.
“Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up—it means giving your energy to what’s within your control. It means reacting in ways that support your growth when life unfolds in unexpected ways. Adjusting in a positive way to unexpected events in our lives means being flexible, maintaining a sense of humor, and retaining our certainty that life is happening FOR us, not TO us. Our life is unfolding—just as it should.
“It is within our power to create our lives as we wish them to be. We get to decide how we frame our experiences. We get to decide how we feel, and we control our responses.”
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