Taking Control vs. Taking Care

My guess is that, if you’re reading this, you are unhappy with some aspect of your life.  If you are completely happy with your life, I suggest you stop reading and go frolic somewhere.

For the rest of us, there are things we want to change.  Maybe it’s our jobs, our bodies or our relationships.

If you’re like me, you like to have complete control over every aspect of your life.  In fact, it’s a necessity.  I need to know my life inside and out, and be able to manipulate it to do what I want.  I want to look a certain way, have a certain job, meet certain people and make a certain amount of money.  I not only envision where I want to be in the future, but I start planning it down to the smallest details. 

I’ve always believed that, unless I was following a very carefully laid path, I would never get anywhere.  I would certainly not end up anywhere I wanted to be.

I think this is how a lot of us operate.  

When we want to lose weight or get in shape, we push ourselves to the limit, forcing our bodies to run more miles, lift more weight, eat healthier meals and avoid dessert (even though it’s sooooo delicious).  

Thousands of products are sold to control our hair, skin and nails.  There are products for even the smallest areas of our bodies (like our cuticles)! 

We try so hard to make jobs and relationships work, even when they are clearly failing, simply because it’s what we should be doing.  It’s the company we should be working for or the person we should be dating.  We’re just going to shove our way through the tough times and bend ourselves until we break.

How anxious does this make you feel?

For me, trying to have complete control over everything has led to some pretty serious breakdowns.  We don’t always get what we want, and life rarely works out the way we planned.  In fact, I’d hazard a guess that life never works out the way we planned.

So for someone who spends their days painstakingly crafting their entire existence and worrying about the future, it’s pretty devastating when the universe intervenes and decides to shake things up a bit.

I get mad at my skin for breaking out and mad at my thighs for being bigger than I want them to be.  I get angry with myself for needing so much time to heal, instead of being able to move forward and reach my dreams.  I get mad that my dreams change sometimes, and that I can’t honestly say where I will end up living or what I’ll be doing with my life five years from now (heck, two years from now).  I get mad when I can’t sleep at night, and also when I’m too tired to stay awake in the middle of the day.  I get angry when all I want for dinner is ice cream.

I’ve been tricked into believing that taking care of myself means forcing certain things to happen because they “should”, so I get mad at myself for things I can’t control, and it’s the fact that I can’t control them that makes me mad in the first place!

What if I released this control?

What if:

Instead of denying my body the food it craves, I eat what I want because my body knows what it needs and when?

Instead of scratching, picking and medicating my skin with different tools and creams, I allow my skin to heal itself and be nourished from the inside out?

Instead of wearing what’s in style, I discover my own personal style based on what I like and what makes me feel good?

Instead of hanging on to old relationships that do not bring me any joy, I allowed myself to grow apart from some people?

Instead of forcing myself to pick a career and plan out exactly how to make it happen, I do what I love and believe that the universe will comply when it’s my time to succeed.

What if we release control?  What if we simply believe with all our might that things are going to work out? What if taking care of ourselves means handling ourselves gently, instead of forcing things to happen? What if “fighting” doesn’t actually involve a struggle?

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