Releasing Control

Having no control is a scary idea. Without control, how can we do what we want to do, and achieve what we want to achieve?

What are the things we want?

If we didn’t look at all the other things that everybody else is doing, would our wants be different?

It’s hard to know what we really want because every day there are many stimulants motivating us in various directions. I often see someone doing something and think, “Maybe I should do something like that, because if someone else is doing it, it’s got to be worth doing, right?”. And so I do whatever it is I think I should be doing, the outcome usually being that it’s not a great fit for me and so I don’t do very well at it. I am left feeling like I’ve failed, wasted time or that my abilities as a human are inadequate.

We’re so often compromising our heart’s desire by reacting in accordance with the status quo. It seems as though we’re supposed to know what to do. Looking around, we might figure that we’re the only one feeling lost. We all have times where we think, “Oh god, what am I doing? Should I be doing this? Am I missing out on something else by doing the thing I’m doing rather than the other thing I could be doing?”. All of that internal chatter is merely a sign that you’re human.

On the other hand, we might feel the need to stand out from the crowd. Individuality is often talked about as something that we should all strive for, and so we try to do things that other people aren’t doing. However, if we only act in relation to the things that other people are doing, how authentic are we really being? In this case, acting as an “individual” very much focuses on a life of comparisons. Instead, one should strive for individuality in order to be the most authentic version of themselves, acting in accordance with their instinct and beliefs, not to be seen by others as an “individual”.  In some cases, what brings you joy may just be what a lot of others happen to be doing!  

We only want control because we feel as though we need to be living our lives in a particular way. If we accept that there is no one “thing” we should be doing or striving toward in life, all of this pressure floats away. What if you didn’t always need to be doing something? Then you wouldn’t need control either. And with that you’d be feeling quite a bit better already.

We live as though there are correct decisions to be made in every moment, and so exists the fear that we might make an incorrect decision. Life isn’t set in stone like a film or a video game. It’s not so straightforward, and it cares little about your “plans”. It’s got an open ended plot, more characters than you can imagine, plenty of setbacks and some wonderful surprises too - if you’d just let them happen!

David Boland