This idea brings us back to the concept of control – controlling our surroundings, controlling others’ behavior, controlling and perhaps beating up ourselves when life and our plans for how things are meant to be do not meet our expectations. And there is the key word then unlocks all fearful and anxiety-ridden thoughts about being in control: expectations.
Weekly, I meet with a Course in Miracles group, and this same topic came up just this past week. We were talking about how people do not always react and respond in a way we think or perceive they will. We observe their behavior, set expectations through communication, and assume that they will listen and follow through. Maybe in a Disney animated movie they will, and all will be perfect (I’m hearing the Smurfs theme song in my head as well). Unfortunately, in reality it’s never that easy. Why? Because we are brought here to live and let live (thank you Bill W. and AA).
So, how do we avoid controlling? Truly, the answer lies in loving and taking care of ourselves, lowering our own expectations of what we can and cannot accomplish. Think about it. When we focus on ourselves, take care of ourselves, nurture our own needs and give the rest to the presence that is really in control (God), everything else falls into place. When we own our own stuff and take responsibility for our actions, we won’t need to control everybody and everything else.
Sometimes we are not even aware that we are controlling because it has become such a part of our coping mechanism. We have to start by raising our level of awareness. We can do this by listening to our bodies and paying closer attention to how we perceive that person or situation that is driving us insane.
Here is what I do, and not always consistently, mind you. Let’s start with one subject. Pick a person who regularly disregards what you have to say or responds with irritation to your requests. If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, you can go hang with Buddha. smile emoticon First step, remind yourself that this is a trigger. Second step, how do you feel? Listen to your body. Breathe into the negative emotion and release it with your out breath. I do this three times because I like the number three, but you can do it a hundred times if that’s what works for you. Third step, excuse yourself politely from the situation – no need to smile, be coy or shoot a dirty, accusatory look (that’s controlling). Remind yourself that in that moment where you are feeling out of control, your response will not be one of peace and love. Fourth, start asking "Why am I responding this way?" or "What is really bothering me about this behavior?" Digging and looking within is the only way to resolve repeat patterns of control. What we find when we really take a close look is remarkable: most control stems from fear. After 24, 48, 72 hours when you are not feeling emotional about what happened and you have really looked at yourself, you can either let it go or address it in a loving manner. Addressing the situation with love is the final step, and this one is the most basic and yet most powerful. It comes from prayer and silence. Whenever you ask for guidance from something outside yourself (God), the outcome is always consistently undoubtedly peaceful.
Go in peace and may the love that surrounds you protect you and keep you safe in this world. Where you need peace, ask for it. It will be yours as you continue to let go and allow.
Lots and lots of love to all,Jess