As I write this, my heart is beating a little faster and my chest is feeling just a little tighter. A sense of panic is setting in. I am a control freak and the idea of letting go of control scares me to death (or so it feels). The truth is that I actually have very little control of what happens in my life, I do however have control over how I choose to respond to it. And that, it turns out, makes all the difference.
As a kid, I often felt “caged in” by my circumstances. Of course in hindsight, I see how blessed I was. Nevertheless, as a result of this, I have spent my adult life trying to control every aspect of my life. I felt like a complete and utter failure when things have not worked out as planned or when friends have left me out of something. I have striven to have the “perfect life” and have been severely disappointed when I have felt that I have not succeeded. “Perfect” for me equated to “independent”. Independence meant that I never had to ask for permission and I never had to rely on anyone for anything. Asking for help was a mortifying experience. The only way to achieve independence in my mind was through control of every aspect of my life. Control of my money, my feelings, and even the people in my life. I did accept that there were certain things that I had limited or no control over after a while and that it was ok but even that was a struggle at first and still is at times. Turns out independence is overrated (mostly)
There was a day in my early 20’s somewhere when my mom and I had a huge fight. I have no idea what the fight was about, but I remember phoning my dad after and ranting about how unfair my mother was and how I wanted nothing more to do with her. The only thing I remember him saying to me during that conversation is “no man is an island”. At the time, I remember thinking: “yah yah whatever. I can survive on my own”. Turns out he was right. I cannot do it all by myself. I need help from time to time. Every time I push someone away, I hear my dad’s voice saying “no man is an island” then I take a step back and question why I acted this way in the first place. Is this someone that I will regret letting go of when I am 100 and on my death bed one day and why? If the answer is yes, then I eat humble pie and try to make amends. Sometimes they come back and sometimes they don’t. If they don’t, well then, I guess they have served their purpose in my life and I in theirs and it is time for us both to move on. Yes, I know, I probably should ask that question BEFORE I push them away but to be honest sometimes I just need the space to get clarity first.
In order to be in control and be independent, I need to be sure of everything and I need to be right about everything. To be sure that I am right, I must choose an option and remain steadfastly glued to it. I must find the evidence to support what I believe is right and ignore everything that points to me being wrong. The problem with this approach of course is that I am not right because, well, who ever really is? The other problem is that I close myself off to other opportunities that I might actually enjoy more.
Soooo…my goal is to give up control (breathe Michelle, you will be OK…) and be more open to all the options and experiences available to me. To be more spontaneous. To be less judgmental. To be more wrong. I don’t have a choice but to be independent right now but nowhere is it cast in stone that I have to be a control freak in order to be independent. Besides, as a mother, my ability to let go of control of my son is tested every day. Every day I have to leave him in someone else’s care. Every day I have to stop myself from telling him what to wear and not impose my ideas on him. I have to let him be him and not who I want him to be. As a partner in a relationship, I had to constantly make compromises that I didn’t know I was capable of until the moment arrived. I gave up so much control and even a bit of independence that I would sometimes look in the mirror and wonder who the woman was that was looking back at me…lol. I have no regrets though. The person and experience were ultimately worth it.
Forward we move. I’m looking forward to getting my feet wet in life’s little puddles. I am putting desires out there and letting them go for the universe to take of.
Until next time…Keep smiling.
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