I am a control freak. Can we just be honest for a minute? We act like it’s a secret. Can my fellow sister freaks please raise their hands for a second? There. It feels so good just to say it.
Let’s back up. First, I apologize I’ve been a little MIA this summer. We traveled, I have been working on some big, exciting, super fun projects, I had a near-mental breakdown, we’re officially building our dream house, AND we are now somehow allowing life to flow again. What in the world is that, right? Flow? In this crazy, mixed up, media-driven, fear based world it’s hard to tell sometimes. BUT. I’m finding some tiny semblance of it and I promise I am riding this beautiful wave as long as I can! Wow, there is so much to tell you guys and I’m not even sure where to start, but the bottom line is this: I’m so good.
Truly, I’m not the same.
Over the last few months, the biggest, most monumental discovery I made about myself is: I am a control FREAK. And I’ve lived the last few years driven almost entirely by fear. You see, I’ve been telling myself a version of my story for a few years desperately trying to figure out the problem. What’s the problem? Why is this happening? How did that happen? Oh my gosh, is that going to happen again? What if it happens again? You know what I finally realized was the problem? Me.
The problem was two-fold: First, I was afraid. I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough, funny enough, popular enough, talented enough, go ahead and fill in the blank. Not enough. I feared rejection to the point of forgetting who I was, what I wanted, who and what was important, and what crazy, unique things made me come alive. Why? Because I had gone through some hard losses. What I now know? We all do. Especially when we’re going through big life changes; people and groups fall away. We’re no longer the person we were and sometimes those old places and relationships based on superficial or circumstantial ties don’t fit. But I couldn’t let go.
That was my second problem. For years, I struggled desperately to let go of unhealthy or toxic relationships. I white-knuckle gripped onto relationships that were just naturally evolving away. In my frantic attempts to fix and please and clarify and explain I made so many things so much worse. I told myself (and them) I was trying to help. Believe me, my intentions were good. But ultimately, the truth I’ve come to accept is that I wasn’t comfortable with people managing their own lives. I didn’t want them making their own decisions when they weren’t what I thought was best. I wanted to help them make them for them. Aren’t I so nice? Ah-hem. I didn’t mean it. But that’s what I did. And when I failed to fix or save the situation or the relationship, I believed it was all my fault. I took it so personally.
It’s like a light-bulb went on. I am the problem.
Mind you, I’m not the only problem, but I’m my own biggest problem. Most of us are.
Jack Kiddard said: “Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.” What can we control? The only thing we can control is the thoughts we think, and the actions we take.
Pema Chodron said: “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” All my experiences and life has been leading me to this holy moment of letting go. Letting go of others. Letting go of relationships. Letting go of fear, expectation and performance; letting go of the desire to control or fix or somehow measure up. To what? For whom? I was chasing an illusion.
Are you chasing an illusion?
An illusion of perfection? Belonging? Or perhaps you’re desperate to keep the peace when there is no peace to keep? I kept finding myself mired in a new version of an old story and I finally got sick and tired of watching it play out the same way. I had to take responsibility! It was the only way to take back my power and change the ending. We can change. But it has to be for us.
So now you’re probably wondering if I’m magically some non-controlling, uuber calm, wise, unfreakishly normal person? Possibly….not so much, really. But here’s what’s different: I know it. I’m aware. I’m aware that I’m prone to fear of rejection and that my default is to perform and perfect and please to the death. Simply having the awareness helps me stop flying my freak flag quite so enthusiastically in front of everyone — and save it for the few rare gems who love my particular kind of freaky. We’re all weird. That’s what makes us beautiful.
Are you driven by fear? If you’re honest, is it possible you struggle allowing others to make their own decisions too?
Let me help: it’s not your job to fix everything and everyone and if someone doesn’t like you, oh well. Let’s stop being sorry for us and be sorry for them. Breathe. Learn how to place a healthily distance between you and other people’s problems, knowing they’re not actually your problems! Newsflash! Accept that you actually have the right to divorce yourself from other’s perceptions and expectations so you can recognize more and more the truth of who you are, what you love, and what you are made to do. You are not defined by what other people say about you. Period.
Did you know the word courage comes from the word COR, which means heart? Courage comes from the heart! It comes when we know in our heart that we are worthy and deeply loved. You are! So take courage and know that you don’t have to stay the same or hang out somewhere that no longer fits just to make someone else feel better. If you’re like me, these are amazing discoveries. As I begin pushing forty I’m thinking halleluia! I knew this was going to be a great decade!
The good news of my summer mental break
down through is: I’m more me. And I like it. The bad news is: some people won’t. There’s always a downside to becoming more you, right? But one thing I know: things are only going to get better. I can’t wait to introduce you to what I’ve been working on, I seriously want to DIE with excitement! It’s amazing. And I have amazing friends and people helping me, surrounding me, praying for and with me, and building with me. It’s so good.
And I’m convinced it’s happening — this beautiful wave of flow I’m riding — because I’m learning to let go. I’m finding peace in the middle of the fear knowing that I was made to do this and it doesn’t matter what happens after. What matters is what happens inside me as I do it. My operating system has changed. Hustling, performing, pleasing and measuring up has driven me for years and I can’t live like that anymore. I don’t want to live like that anymore.
These days I’m running the latest version of que sera sera and it feels so good.
I promise, you can live there too.
Embrace who you are, and all the weird quirky ways that make you you. Maybe this post spoke to the hidden inner control freak in you. Maybe someone or something came to mind that you just can’t let go. Stop pretending and go ahead and raise your hand, you freak. Then open your heart, breathe and relax. You’re in good company. You don’t need to hold on so tight. It’s probably better if you let go. And now you know.