How to Gain Greater Control of Your Life – The Control Paradox

by | 16 Jun 2014 | Change

I’ve noticed a really strong recurring theme these last weeks, both with my clients and with my friends and family; huge frustration and upset when things don’t turn out as you like, or people don’t behave in the way that you want or think they should!

So many of us (myself included) at heart are ‘control freaks’. We like to feel on top of things, keeping all those plates spinning, everything running just so. How frustrating when other people won’t co-operate or when something unexpected and disruptive happens!

So I feel I’ve been spending a lot of time helping people let go of that frustration.

Of course I’m not immune to it either; this month has been feeling super-busy – the kids all have a lot going on for them both in school and out, I’ve had a full diary with clients, whilst trying to still keep some bigger work projects moving forward, hubby has been away a bit making juggling childcare and keeping on top of the house etc that bit more challenging, and there’s been a fair bit going on the social front too.

All good stuff (on the whole), but there have been times when I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed and out of control. And then I start to worry that I’ll ‘drop’ one of those plates…and then I get snappy and grumpy and feeling martyred!

I’m getting much better at catching it early though, and reminding myself that it’s an illusion that I can control anything, other than how I choose to be. I can’t control what happens to me, or how others behave, but I CAN control how I want to respond (“the last of the human freedoms” as Viktor Frankl wrote).

It sometimes feels like a paradox, that we have to give up trying to control, in order to gain greater control of ourselves.

So, this month I’ve done a lot of pausing, taking a deep breath and just accepting things and people for how they are and making the conscious choice of how I want to be instead. After all, in reality it’s never the event (or the other person) that’s the problem, it’s how I react to it/them that is!

This article was originally published in my “museletter” (make sure you are on my mailing list too – just sign up at the bottom of the page). After reading it, Anne Talbot, one of my lovely readers sent me this summary document, which she created to add to her journal. You can also print it out and stick it to the wall.

>> Control Paradox download <<

And what about you? Is this an area you wrestle with too? Let me know – I’m genuinely interested to know your frustration and challenges, so I know how best I can support and help.




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