I want to talk about control. I love this topic. Because we really have it back ass backwards when it comes to control.
I’ve dealt with control as a defense mechanism in my own life. As something that comes out of reaction instead of using it as a proactive tool. I want to talk about how to own control because control can be such a beautiful tool in the toolbox but you need to know how to use it in a healthy way.
Are you the kind of person that falls into a trap of control? Where you feel like you need to control everything? Where you’re really tightly wound up and when things don’t go according to plan, your life becomes very disordered? When you lose that control, it changes your mood and your behaviours? Do you feel those physical symptoms come up when you feel out of control?
This is not the good type of control. This is unhealthy control; you may not think it is, but it is affecting your physical health. It’s a vicious cycle; when we feel out of control, then we all of a sudden want to control everything. And in that space, you actually lose even more control because you’re not in control. It’s this convoluted vicious cycle that we get into. And the result is physical symptoms on the body: we get more stressed, cortisol rises, and how we treat our bodies changes because of the stress. Stress breaks down your brain and your body function.
You need to slow things down and start journaling; recognize what comes up for you if you're always feeling anxious, needing to control everything and feeling like everything needs to be perfect. Because it’s not working for you. And it’s not working for your body. You can operate in that for awhile and think it’s working, but for your long term physical and mental health, it’s not working for you.
So when you decide that want to change, you want to live your life a little less chaotic and you want to produce different results in your life, you need to slow the process down. Figuring out what your triggers are in terms of control is step one.
You need to start catching yourself before you get into that place so that you can coach yourself in a different direction. But it’s a lot harder than I’m making it sound. And at the beginning when you start doing this, you’ll probably catch yourself once you’re in it, or after it’s already happened. It’s not an easy thing to do; it takes a lot of conscious reflection, a lot of journaling, and a lot of understanding what triggers you and what your insecurities are. You have to get really real and really honest with yourself.
Ask yourself: “is this behavior serving me?” Do you feel satisfied? Fulfilled? Is there something really great that comes to you when you’re in that mode? Is this how you want to show up with the people around you? How is it making your partner feel? Your children?
So here’s the thing. When you think about it, here we are struggling to keep everything in control and we’re in this vicious cycle full of stress, when really, we are in total, 100% control of everything.
You’re in control of every moment of your life. But I’m talking about healthy control. You may not always control the situations that come towards you, but you get to control how you show up in them. You get to control how you see things, how you see other people, how you show up in terms of your actions and your thoughts with other people. Have control in a healthy way - control your thoughts, your emotions and how you are responding to the situations and events around you. It’s not about other people. It’s you. You own you.
Healthy control is amazing and incorporating more healthy control into your life is incredible. It's where you start to master your thoughts and emotions and actions. Where you can, instead of reacting, you’re able to keep yourself at a distance and look at things more objectively. You’re able to take a step back and reflect on how you want to show up. How you want to respond in a situation.
It’s never going to be perfect; we all have moments where we crack and start to go into that reactive, controlling zone. But with practice, instead of letting ourselves go there completely, we can catch ourselves. I catch myself at times and ask myself “what is going on here? Why am I thinking like this? What is going on within ME that I’m not feeling my best, I’m not thinking my best thoughts and I’m not acting in a way that is aligned with my best self?”
The ability to catch yourself and coach yourself in those moments is like a muscle that you need to build and train; it takes consistency and lots of reflection and journaling. It takes becoming brutally real and honest with yourself in terms of where you’re at and what your insecurities are. It doesn’t always feel good, but the work is so important. It’s not about feeling badly about yourself. It’s about living a happier, healthier life where you feel less chaotic, more grateful and more calm; where you’re able to show up with people in a way that you really feel good and proud about.
Start having these conversations with yourself. When certain thoughts come up, instead of becoming reactive, controlling and not aligned with how you really want to be, coach yourself. Tell yourself, “okay, I could respond and go the way I always go, or I could take a different route this time.” Slow the process down and give yourself a few seconds to have that conversation. Take it one day, one instance, one moment at a time.
You own you. You own your output. You are in control over every moment of your life. You have the ability to create a life that has less chaos and less stress; a life that’s healthier, happier and more peaceful. But a life where you still get a lot of shit done and you go to bed feeling accomplished and proud of the person you showed up as.