The Illusion of Control

Posted on February 2nd, 2017

It happens to all of us. We stumble, or say something inappropriate, or can’t lose the weight, or can’t get the kids to do what we want, or lose the friend we’d hoped to gain, or can’t make the sale or close the deal or get the project done on time. These things happen in our lives, and they can be challenging.

What adds to the challenge is thinking we’re supposed to be able to control what happens to us and around us.

Viewing the world through the lens of control automatically separates us from whatever we try to control, whether it’s a situation, a person, or our own bodies. There is us and there is what we are trying to control, separate from each other. Too much of this separation and we end up living in an alien, threatening world, all to give ourselves the illusion of being in control.

The reality is that life is actually not about control; it’s a participatory process. Rather than controlling people and situations, we participate in what happens to us, playing an important part in the events of our lives, often the deciding part, but sometimes not. We may not be all-powerful, but neither are we powerless.

When we accept that we have a strong say in what happens to us, but not control, that life is a collaborative and messy process, anxiety and self-criticism go down. Then we are in a better position to take responsibility for our part in what happens in our lives. We can control the things we can, accept what we can’t control, and make more realistic decisions about how to go forward.

By being aware of the participatory, relational nature of our lives, when things don’t go our way, we can be kinder to ourselves and less thrown by events

Posted in Change | Individual Counseling

Please remember, this is a blog. It is not psychotherapy or treatment of any kind and is not a substitute for the individual treatment you can get from going to see a good therapist.

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