One in four of us is going to suffer some sort of mental episode in our lives, for many people this comes from going over and over something in their mind, more often than not these ruminations are about things that are completely out of their control. Recognising what is out of our control and learning strategies to let go of those things and then realising what we can control and taking responsibility for those, ultimately makes us happier. Either extreme feeling like we have to control everything (when actually we can’t) or feeling in control of nothing is stressful.
As a bossy recovering control freak I smile every time I talk about this subject. I used to feel responsible for everything around me, trying to make sure everyone was happy and picking up the pieces when things didn’t quite work. I was a woman on a serious mission. Being in control was my role in life. My realisation that this was helping neither myself or the people around me was a slow one, but gradually over time I began to realise that I didn’t have to look after everything, that I wasn’t solely responsible for keeping the world turning. It was a huge relief to put that down.
One of the great things that comes out of letting go of control is that our relationships improve. Ever had a “discussion” about how to stack the dish washer, or how to cut carrots? – does it REALLY matter? When we do things for other people or check up on them it is like sending them a postcard saying “I don’t trust you”. When we start trusting people and letting go you find other people can do things too, perhaps not the same way, but equally successfully. Your list gets shorted and you both feel happier.
There are four things in life that you are completely responsible for: what you think, what you feel, what you say and what you do. The rest should be left for someone else. A good measure for your interference levels is this if you can say about whatever you do “I was only trying to help”, then believe me you were actually trying to control!