Are You “Out of Control”?

One of the big stories that has come up recently for several of my clients is “out of control”. As with any of our issues or stories, we can also apply meanings to these things. For some people, “out of control” might mean that “everything is going to fall apart”, for others it may mean “everything is going to be a mess”, and for some it may mean that if they are out of control, they will be shunned (feel shame) and feel “left out”. Whatever the case may be, we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to hold it all together or maintain some semblance of control. Control tends to feel safe, and it feels comfortable in many respects, but what is all of this control doing to us and for us?

Often times, what all of this control, especially emotional control, is doing for us, is creating patterns of tension in the body. Tension can be defined as something using more energy than is required. Tension can manifest in the form of tight muscles to colds and flu, and even other physiological issues such as skin conditions, weight gain or more serious disease if these tensions are allowed to persist long enough without being addressed, released and/or integrated.


Control is so pervasive in the human condition and experience, we even try to control how, and in what forms we receive attention and love. We do this by exhibiting certain behaviors or actions in front of certain people and not in front of others. How we get attention is how we receive love. How is it that you try to control the attention you receive? How do you posture yourself in front of others to be perceived in a certain light? These are the psychological masks that we wear when we are not comfortable being ourselves. Many of our control issues are our way of managing how we perceive ourselves in front of others or how others perceive us.

We often mistakenly think we can get more of what we want if we control, but it often creates problems when we can’t separate what is trivial from what is truly important.
Why does it matter and what can we do to relinquish a bit of our control and release the tension it creates?

When control issues and structure become problems, is when they begin to take precedence over relationships. Expecting others to like what you like and do things the same way you do is controlling. Not allowing someone else to make decisions they’re perfectly capable of making is controlling. Criticizing with the intent of provoking shame in others in order to get what you want is controlling.

Let Go

If you are ready to relinquish some control and allow a little more spontaneity into your life, here are some suggestions:
• Practice good self-care. Getting plenty of rest, scheduling play time and pursuing your own interests will help you feel more satisfied with your life overall and less dissatisfied with those around you. Beginning a meditation practice could also be helpful in creating some inner space for yourself, so there is not so much of a need to control the outer space.
• Be honest and direct when you present a request or offer an opinion to someone else. Be aware that you might try to control surface issues when there is something deeper that should be dealt with.
• Encourage and praise your husband/wife, children, friends and employees. Encouragement will draw them toward you, whereas criticism will push them away.
• Trust others with the successful outcome of the tasks for which they are responsible. Hovering over them and checking their work is demotivating. Discern between what is important and what is trivial before deciding whether or not to get involved. Trust others to make good decisions, even when you aren’t sure they’re on the right track.
• Share your frustrations and concerns with a trusted friend or professional. If your painful feelings persist, talk to a professional counselor, therapist or life coach.
• Trust Yourself and Trust the Universe. Practice or participate in activities that build your self-confidence and begin to trust in your decisions. Trust that what you are receiving/creating in each moment is what is best for you, delivered right at your feet by the universe, God, Creator, whatever name you want to give that awe-inspiring force that brings things about in your life. When you begin to trust that it is all there for you and from you, then it becomes easier to let go, and receive the messages and information that is in each moment.
• Choose to Let Go. When you realize something is trivial, like which way your partner wants to drive to the store, make the choice to let go. You are not driving, they are. When you let go for the little things, you might just be surprised at what you can learn about others and yourself.