Letting go of control can be difficult. It takes trust – of ourselves as well as others – and accepting help, or support, from others. When we say ‘to let go of control,’ we mean to loosen your grip, figuratively, and to stop trying to control other people’s beliefs and actions as well as situations and their outcomes. It can take some work but, once you put forth the effort, you’ll be able to also let go of the unnecessary stress, worry, and anxiety you experience in work, relationships, and life, in general.
This might be a relatively short list however, it entails a lot of work on your point. It’s not easy giving up control; in fact, it’s not easy to even admit that you are a control freak to begin with. Let me tell you a secret: a lot of people, probably most people out there, have some level of need for control.
Take me, for example. My original drug of choice was marijuana and I was your typical pothead: totally laid back and easy going. And today, even though I’m clean and sober (and therefore don’t smoke pot anymore) I still consider myself to be pretty easy going. However, I have noticed that I always want to be the one to drive when going out with friends. I realized that it’s because of several things: I like to control the temperature in the car (I get very cold easily and so I don’t like to ride in other people’s cars because they crank the AC), I like to control the speed (I hate being a passenger in a car where the driver goes so slowly; I’m kind of an aggressive driver), and I’m really particular about the music I like and so when I’m the one who’s driving, I get to control what we listen to.
Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about 6 practical ways to let go of control.
#1. Admit that you like to control things/that you feel the need to control
Figuring out what might be driving your need for control is the best way to start this step. Usually, people who try to control things too much do so out of these three feelings and beliefs.
- Fear – worry that things won’t turn out, that we’ll get hurt, that bad things will happen
- Unworthiness – feeling like we don’t deserve support, help, or that we don’t deserve for things to go ‘right’
- Lack of trust – scared of letting go, of counting on others, and believing that things will be okay without us managing every aspect of the situation
#2. Look at the ways you try to control others and situations
Just like in my little driving example, take a situation and break it down. It’ll take sitting down with yourself and being willing to be really honest.
#3. Decide what’s at stake as a result of your actions
When we have to control others and situations, we sacrifice all the good things that life has to offer. By which I mean:
Joy Peace Freedom Energy Creativity Support Ease
So, now tell me: is it worth being a control freak? If you decide you want to continue the path of learning practical ways to let go of control, read on…
This is the bottom line of actually letting go. Now, to be clear, surrendering doesn’t mean that you have to give up or that you don’t care, it means that you are choosing to trust and allow others to take care of things once in a while – that it doesn’t always have to be you, and by having faith in a Higher Power.
Choosing to surrender isn’t enough on its own. You will need to put some practices into effect in order to support you with being able to surrender and continuing to let go of control, from here on out. One practice that can really support you is meditation, on a regular basis. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably believe that meditation is too hard or that it’s not for you. I suggest starting out with looking up a 10 minute guided meditation on Youtube. Also, getting into yoga really helps to ground you and is like a stepping stone to seated meditation.
Just breathe. Many of us, believe it or not, forget to breathe on a daily basis. Now, of course I don’t mean this as literally as it sounds but, there is some literal-ness to this statement. Modern day folks like you and me tend to hold our breath throughout the day, and especially in stressful moments, like when we’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Practice taking deep, controlled breaths by matching the length of your exhale to that of each inhale.
When we look back on our lives in hindsight, we usually see that things happen for a reason. By letting go of control, we are living in the present moment yet with this same hindsight awareness. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot better?
Many times, substance abuse and addiction blurs our reality and we try everything we can to control our lives, even as they are spinning out of control. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist. We are available around the clock to answer all of your questions.