Do you get anxious or angry when things don’t go just as you want them to? Do you feel you have to take charge of ‘everything’ or nothing would get done?
Feelings such as these really do cloud our enjoyment of life. They are often termed as ‘control issues’. Sometimes the simplest things make you irritated – say going for a coffee with a friend and the service being a bit slow or on a walk with a loved one and the moment being spoilt by a one-sided diatribe of complaining. These experiences feel like they are so far from the ‘perfect’ idea that you had in mind. But this is life.
Sometimes things don’t go as we planned – but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it. I’ve been learning ballroom dancing over the past couple of years – and it is the most fun when we learn something new and make a few mistakes in the process.
When we complain and are dis-satisfied about ‘inferiority’ or ‘mediocrity’ then we are only letting ourselves down and allowing our perception to cloak a situation in a pessimistic way.
Isn’t every aspect of our lives a matter of perspective?
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” ANNE FRANK, Diary of a Young Girl
We can alter our perspective on situations if we want to –
Don’t think MESSY – think LIVED IN/RELAXED
Don’t think SLOW SERVICE – think CAREFUL LOVING PREPARATION
Don’t think STONY SILENCE – think THOUGHTFUL/CONSIDERATE
I read Pollyanna (Eleanor H. Porter) recently – if you haven’t read it, well worth a look – and that has the thread of finding something positive about every situation you face. In fact Pollyanna makes it into a game – which is sometimes fun and often a challenge. Why not give it a go next time you feel like moaning?
LETTING GO OF CONTROL – A MEDITATION PRACTICE
1 Write about 3 recent occasions where you felt anxiety and wanted to take control of a situation or someone else’s behaviour.
2 Now come to a meditation space – seated on a cushion or in a chair. Take a moment to be still and watch the breath for about 5 minutes.
3 Chose one of the situations that you listed. Recall it in detail – especially the feelings. Perhaps a family member moved some cushions and didn’t replace them exactly as you wanted (small things can really get our goat) – what were your feelings?
4 Ask yourself why having things the way you want them is so important… Are you afraid of something? Do you feel that if you lose control you may become powerless? Alone? Abandoned?
There is no right answer – explore the feelings, even if you feel a bit silly now looking at them like this.
5 Let those thoughts go and commit to yourself to ‘letting go’ just a little bit at a time. See that by relaxing your grip (usually) nothing terrible happens. Look for a positive outcome when things are different from your expectations. Be kind and patient with yourself. Most people will have these thoughts at one time or another – you are not alone.
One final thought…
“All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” Buddha