Knock it off. Seriously. Let go.
None of us like the constant spiral that we can find ourselves in when chaos and lack of order seem to follow us like a bad penny. When the room seems to be spinning out of control and nothing we do can stop it. So how do we fix this phenomenon? We become a little (more than, but I am trying to be polite) freaked out. We crave the rules that we hope we can dominate. Or at least we try anyway.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to control everything?
But that is a lot of work. Even in our own world, it takes huge shoulders and more time than we can possibly imagine. Ever seen the movie, “Bruce Almighty” with Jim Carrey where he is given the job of God because he wants to control things that seems to be never going his way? (If you want to learn more about the movie, you can see the trailer here.)
How many of us have ever felt that way? ME! I tried for a long time to control life. Guess what…that is a bronco that just won’t be tamed, regardless of how many ropes and ties you wrap around that beast. But I tried. Oh, boy, did I try.
For many years, I thought that I could control every aspect of my life. My opinion never seemed to matter and no one ever seemed to ask my opinion before making a decision. Moving between homes and schools, until I was about 10 years old, with no control over any of it made me feel like nothing I wanted mattered. And I told myself that once I got old enough, I was taking control. I was not going to let life dictate what does and does not happen to me. I didn’t feel like I was out of control, I just simply felt like I had no power to dictate what happens next. In some ways, I felt helpless. It made me want to give up. So instead, I controlled what people learned about me…I controlled my emotions…I controlled what minimal exposure to life I sought.
Then something remarkable happened to me about four years ago where I lost control of everything I thought I knew. Every belief about myself, the world I was surrounded in, and what life in store for me were tossed out the window in a day. There were too many questions with not enough answers and none of it made sense. I could not control the direction my life was heading, regardless of how much I tried. I was being pulled by an unknown source that tested every piece of logic and rational thinking I had ever grown accustomed to basing all life’s decisions and it didn’t matter what I could see or hear. It was something much deeper…someplace I had never gone before and yet it became impossible to ignore and deny. Countless words began to forms into sentences that were grown with meaning and inspiration and found themselves planted into my soul and heart. Feelings long removed quickly came to the surface where they had finally been given a life they had so desperately yearned to live. Over the course of these past four years, I have learned to let go and trust in only the things I can control. I have tried my best to be open to what lay before me and although the lack of understanding has left me speechless, shaking my head in disbelief, and yet eager to see what unfolds, I am still in awe of my inability to control certain portions of my life. Freedom has never felt sweeter than when I gave up control..stopped trying to plan…and fell in love with the unpredictable. Promises made to hold fast to a decision have been quickly admonished because of a chance word…a forgiving smile…and a tremendous amount of love.
Imagine if life were to ask us, “Would you prefer to have a bum hip or a messed up shoulder?” That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
One thing that we cannot always control is our health. I am pretty confident that everyone who is offered a chance to have a life-ending disease, that they would reject it. Flat out. Pass on it. Politely say, “No, thank you.” But as much as we can control bits and pieces of our health, we don’t choose if we get macular degeneration or diabetes. When faced with the unknown and never-ending questions, a loved ones health can always make us feel helpless. Even though most of us lack the proper medical knowledge to accurately treat our loved one, we wish we could do something. Anything. Waiting for the phone to ring…praying for good news…anticipating what the next steps will be if it isn’t. Sitting in the doctor’s office…waiting the next set of tests to figure a plan of action…followed up with checkups…accompanied by a slew of medications that sit openly on the kitchen counter. Being taken to the emergency room against my will, I became very “snarky” with hospital staff and even my loved ones. Why? Because I was not in control. Deep down, I was more afraid that I had been in a long time and I protected myself from showing my nervousness and anxiety was to be rude, short, and downright bitchy. Health will always be out of our reach and nothing I can say or do will ever allow any of us to feel more in control, and I apologize for that.
So what do we have control over?
I always say that we only have control over two things and two things only…ATTITUDE and EFFORT. And everything that we have in our lives can follow one of those two. I cannot control anyone else’s behavior or their words. I waste more time worrying about things that I have no control over than anything else. I cannot make someone love me and I cannot make someone work harder at their job. We need to focus out energies on the things that we do have control over, and it may be easier than you think it is, if you think really hard. Learn to own what is yours and let go of everything else that isn’t. The burden you carry because you have worried for so long has taken its toll. Do I want bad things to happen to the one I love? Absolutely not. Can I protect them at all times, guaranteeing that the decisions they make are the right ones? Nope. At some point, I have to let go. I can’t own it all…it is unbearable task for any human and the emotional and physical strain becomes clear after years of self-bludgeoning, the inability for forgive oneself, and a never-ending cycle that keeps me spinning out of control.
Close your eyes and ask yourself these questions:
- What do you own? I will give you a hint (A&E)
- Where is your heaviest hardship?
- How are you affected by this hardship?
Now, I want you to find a solution to ease those obligations that are not yours. If you want to be healthier (see above), we cannot assume everyone’s concerns as being ours also. To some, it may look like I don’t care. The truth is, I care you for you to figure it out on your own.
When you free yourself of the ownership of something you don’t own, you are free from any anxiety that burden would befall upon you. Look at it this way…none of us would carry the insurance on our neighbor’s car. As much as I love my neighbor, his having insurance on his car is “NOT MY PROBLEM” Learn those words well — NOT MY PROBLEM. They automatically grant you permission to resolve any duty you may feel to bestow upon someone else. Is it difficult to watch loved ones make wrong decisions? You bet it is. But you know what, we have all made bad decisions. We all eventually figure it out. But we have to let some of it go. Really.
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©