What Can We Control?

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When life becomes difficult we can often feel like we have no control over anything. Like everything is out of reach and nothing is going our way. Feeling out of control can cause great anxiety, depression and even physical panic attacks. If we look at this objectively what can we control?

This is quite simple, we can only control ourselves. Trying to control others is actually manipulation and inherently toxic. To come to the realisation that in actual fact no one can control us. We control ourselves. Gives us some freedom to explore what we will and won’t accept in our life. If we feel like we are being controlled by someone else within our life. It can feel quite alien to learn that we are actually allowing it.

Through poor boundary setting and upholding, we can allow ourselves to be subjected to situations and behaviours that are unwanted, There is lots of reasons behind this. Mostly these stem from being invalidated as a child or young adult. We are asked by our caregivers to ignore our boundaries in order to conform to their perception of what a child should be. Whilst this makes for an easy life for the caregiver. It can potentially cause the child to lack self worth and the ability to trust themselves when establishing boundaries as an adult. making them susceptible to entering into abusive friendships/relationships and work environments..

The old adage ‘children should be seen and not heard’ is a perfect example of how we invalidate a child’s voice. It can seem harmless however, if we invalidate anyone enough, there is a chance it will lead to long-term issues. Invalidation even for an adult, can have long-term effects. This is seen in abusive relationships, where the person sustaining abuse, becomes so unsure of themselves that they allow the invalidation to become their inner voice and thus allowing a person to control them.

Gaining control of you thoughts again

Whatever the cause of your inability to control your own thoughts. Once you decide to start gaining emotional mastery over them, you have won half the battle. We underestimate the strength that choice has in our healing. So how do we start gaining control?

First of all we have to practise what we preach. We cannot have mastery over ourselves if we are still in the mindset of controlling those around us. This incudes our children. So, we have to integrate these 7 habits into the communication we have with others:

Supporting, Encouraging, Listening, Accepting, Trusting, Respecting and Negotiating Differences.

These positive steps show a respectful and kind way of communicating. The opposite to these would be:

Criticising, Blaming, Complaining, Nagging, Threatening, Punishing and Bribing or Rewarding to Control.

Just through words you can begin to see the negative approach they have. They may even cause your body to feel discomfort to think about. This is because your body innately knows when boundaries are being crossed, even if your mind over rides the feelings.

Once we get into a habit of not controlling those around us, we start to feel unable to allow others to continue to control us. The knowing we have the ability to NOT control others and/or situations and allow things to unfold naturally. We want the same to be extended to us.

We start to say no more. We start to demand more respect. We walk away from situations that are hurting us. We stop making excuses and start to be honest. We become more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. We care less about how others see us. We do not take blame as easily as before.

All of this can feel uncomfortable at first. we will feel guilt or even shame. We will seek validation from others that we are doing the right thing. Eventually however, this will reduce as we repeatedly get validation we are doing the correct thing. Time will help us to build a resilience to controlling behaviours. We then will begin to see that we don’t even need to respond to unwanted behaviours. Things that would trigger us to fight, will no longer be an issue. We will become apathetic to them.

This happens when you truly have emotional self mastery, when you have genuine control of yourself and your thoughts. This is where true freedom starts. You have a choice…I can let this bother me, or i can let this go. Whatever the choice you make, will be YOUR choice. And this is all we can control. Our own thoughts, actions and behaviours.

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