Always being in complete control is an illusion. As good old Ronan Keating so accurately put it “life is a Roller Coaster”, meaning life goes up and down, we have good and bad times. If we were constantly in control, we wouldn’t feel the bumps of the ride, and without these bumps we would not grow. In this new age of wellbeing and self-care I believe we are all searching for balance. Enlightenment, zen, self love whatever you call it, it’s the belief that somehow we can feel secure and a constant sense of contentment even when things go wrong. As humans naturally do, we are protecting ourselves.
The two most common mental health problems in today’s society, anxiety and depression, are prime examples of control loss. We can let things get on top of us, instead of being the instigator in our own life story. All anxiety is set in the future, and depression in the past. We might be anxious that something terrible may happen, or get into a rut of replaying terrible things that have already happened. If you tend to put others needs before your own, you will also relate to this feeling of losing control. Whether we are giving away our power and strength to our own negative thoughts, memories or to someone else, we experience a lack of control.
To gain control, we must try to avoid living life in victim mode. So I have put together some tips to get you the hell out!
1. Find what you can change
The first step is to build on our ‘outside awareness’. Try to view a situation that is making you uncomfortable from an outsiders perspective and judge whether there is anything that you can do to alter the situation. If you find there is absolutely no action you can take, let it go. For example, if your anxieties lie with someone being sick in front of you, you can decide to turn away when it happens, but you can’t control that it will happen, because we cannot control other people’s actions. Similarly, if you are scared of a tidal wave uplifting your house and taking away your loved ones, you can move far away from the sea, but you can not control the weather. Viewing what we are able to change in the situation and acting on it puts us back in control.
There is always an action to take to reclaim your power, whether it’s changing our surroundings or letting go and moving on. Holding onto a worry and failing to take action is only hurting you. Find a way to let it go.
2. Be Honest
A big lesson I have learnt recently is how important it is to listen to yourself, respect your own feelings, and to honour them by being honest with the people in your life and with yourself. Most people walk around with some form of mask covering their real face, because they are scared of judgment, or of letting their true selves show.
I recently felt confused about where I stood in a situation, and where I usually would have avoided confrontation for fear of being rejected, I stood up for myself and told the truth. As a contrast to waiting for something to happen to me, I asked myself how I could regain the power and the answer was closure. To my surprise, being honest inspired equal honesty from the other person and I received an answer I never expected.
In a similar situation, whether its an answer you want or don’t, any answer will give you the freedom to move on in whatever direction you chose, putting you back in control.
“Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen” – Roy Bennett
3. Believe and Take Action
We can all get stuck in routine and crave certainty. Even though this might make us feel in control for a while, we will eventually start to lose ourselves giving us a new loss of direction. I’m sure you’ve met one of those people with a job they adore, a partner who seems flawless and every day they do something new and exciting that makes you feel envious wishing you had their life. Well, you can! They only thing separating us from the perfect life is trust and self-belief, both of which are totally within our reach.
Last April I organised and hosted an event I had planned 4 years prior. I kept putting it off because I wasn’t qualified enough, or didn’t have the skills, but one day I decided I had nothing to lose. I arranged meetings with high-class event planners and people in creative fields, and soon learnt that no one is ever ready to start something new, you have to jump in and learn along the way. My event was a sell out success and the whole experience exceeded all my expectations. I know now that we can achieve anything we set our minds to, we just have to take action with believe and trust that everything will come together as it should.
We all fall into these patterns of inaction for various reasons, the main one being a lack of self-belief. Once we learn we can align ourselves with our best lives through the actions we make, we are all winning. Instead of waiting for exterior change which may never happen, let's take life into our own hands and live it exactly how we want to.
“You can fail at what you don’t want so you may as well take a chance at doing what you love” – Jim Carey
4. Do something that makes you happy
When we feel out of control whatever the issue, we feel a lack of self. Remind yourself of who are by doing something you love. Whether it’s a walk in nature, a drink with a friend, starting a new project, or even just making dinner, find something that connects you back to yourself and this will rejuvenate your confidence, allowing you to gain control.
Staying balanced is like moving up and down a see saw. It involves constantly taking actions to uproot you from feeling stagnant or lost, and staying still enough to evaluate how you're feeling and what your body needs from you most at the time. Balancing life is a game we all play every day, it is impossible to always feel balanced but we can learn to adapt to change. Building up our mental strength will give us a sense of control through our actions and emotions, giving us belief in ourselves.
"Change is the only constant" - Heraclitus
Remember, the only thing holding you back is you.