Do you love to plan? There’s a big difference between having goals you’re working toward, and trying to control every detail of a situation (or your life). The first is healthy striving to create a life you love, while the latter is a fear-based response in an attempt to avoid pain and suffering.
In case you haven’t noticed in your own life, trying to control does us no good. Shocking right?! If you’re like me and you’ve heard time and time again, to “just let go”. All you think is “yeah, that’s a great idea, but HOW?” Like most things, easier said than done. My best friend showed me a picture that says “Never in the history of calming down, has anyone calmed down by being told to calm down.” I feel the same way about letting go of control. Telling people to let go is pretty useless (and if they’re really overwhelmed about a situation it can even make it worse because they could feel discounted and as though their feelings aren’t valid.)
I’ve been a planner ever since I can remember. My career especially, I had picked out by the time I was in third grade. Sure I checked out all of my options throughout high school, but I was sure I was going to be a dental hygienist for my whole life. I had a huge fear of the dentist as a kid (cavity prone) and my hygienists and the assistants always worked wonders at helping me feel comfortable and helping me overcome my fear. I knew I wanted to do that for others. While I absolutely love that part of my job and LOVE teeth (I know, it’s weird to people not in the dental field), I had absolutely no idea I’d go through the major struggles with my health that I have in the last 3-4 years. This completely altered my path. I became so passionate about holistic health through this process and it has opened my eyes and continues to change my life for the better, every single day! Now that I’m back in school part time studying holistic nutrition, I’m continuing my passion of helping others (and myself!).
“WE MUST BE WILLING TO LET GO OF THE LIFE WE HAVE PLANNED, SO AS TO HAVE THE LIFE THAT IS WAITING FOR US”- Joseph Campbell
I love this quote by Joseph Campbell, it really encompasses how we can live our best lives. When we try to control, we are limiting ourselves. Margaret Drabble said “When nothing is sure, everything is possible”. Think of all the amazing possibilities you could be closing yourself off from by controlling!
So the little question is, how does one begin to let go?
The thing that has helped me over the last year to let go of expectations about my health especially, has been to ask myself “has there been a time when things haven’t worked out the way I planned- a time when I tried to control the outcome, that ended up working out even better than what I had planned?” and to that, there are countless situations where the answer is a massive YES. I truly believe things in life happen FOR you, not TO you. If, in times of feeling we need to control, we can instead remind ourselves of the times things worked out better than we could have imagined, we can begin to shift our belief that we need to control everything. This will open us up to the mindset of trusting that everything is happening for our highest good.