Since last summer, I have been feeling pulled toward letting go of the need to be in control. Recognizing that this is the direction I need to grow and actually doing it are two completely different things, though.
I have been having one epiphany after another over the last week or so about letting go of control. First, being in control is just an illusion. I can plan out my day as thoroughly as I want, but unexpected events are always going to arise, and I need to remain flexible enough to accommodate them. Flexibility has never really been in my vocabulary, but adaptability has. If I view my goal as becoming more adaptable, perhaps that will result in being more flexibile.
Second, I have always viewed being in control as synonymous with being responsible. However, I have friends who are very responsible parents to child with multiple special needs, and they manage to meet all of their children’s needs without any sort of schedule at all. I do not view them as irresponsible, but I also confess that I have no idea how they do it. I am still in the process of trying to wrap my head around the reality that I don’t have to be in control to be responsible.
Third, I believe the inability to be in control is at the root of my anxiety, which is causing my stress-related issues, such as reflux and period insomnia. If I let go of the need to feel in control, I suspect that my anxiety levels will drop dramatically, which, in turn, will cure (or at least ease) some of these other issues.
I completely understand why I have always felt the need to be in control. As an abused child, I had absolutely no control over my life, so I grew into a teenager who tried to take control through obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and an eating disorder. I grew into an adult who lived and died by a schedule. [For those of you who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the first time I took it, I ranked 26 for Judging (needing to plan everything) and 0 for Perception (spontaneity).] I would actually “plan to be spontaneous.” There was no room in my life for anything that wasn’t written down in my Day Planner.
Then, life sent me a kid with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The child is as impulsive and spontaneous as they come. Adapting to living with someone who is so polar opposite to me has been interesting.
I don’t think it is coincidence that my son came into my life. I think he came, in part, to teach me how to let go of control. Believe me – there is no “controlling” this kid.
I haven’t mastered any of this yet, but I am trying to be mindful of all of this and am making an effort to take a deep breath and let go of any illusion of being in control. It’s not easy.
Photo credit: Hekatekris