Letting go of control creates expansion in your life
Letting go of control is going to open up your future in ways that you cannot imagine. Are you someone who craves certainty? Do you feel that you are in your power when you know what’s going to happen next? I want you to think about that. What is it about needing to know what’s going to happen next, or that certainty that brings you so much comfort? And I use that word comfort intentionally, because it’s surprising how many people actually pride themselves on getting outside of their comfort zone, yet they grip tightly to controlling certain aspects of their life or their business. That need to control impacts everything because when things need to be adjusted, when changes need to be made, then it throws off your expectations, and it’s our attachment to our expectations that create unhappiness. This need for control, this desire for control, this desire for certainty, comes from needing to be in a place that’s familiar because within that familiarity is a sense of safety.
[00:02:47] If you’re someone who is controlling or you know someone who is controlling, what has happened is that at some point in life there was a certain set of circumstances that your brain uses a model of reality for its way of responding. So let me give you a really extreme example that might help you, understand what I’m saying? Take a woman who has been battered in a marriage. She’s been in an abusive relationship. She’s been there for years. She finally manages to get out of that relationship and maybe she gets back on her feet. She feels comfortable dating a few people, and let’s say she meets someone who is just adorable. Someone who will truly take care of her. Someone who truly loves her, and she just abruptly walks away from that relationship. And everyone around her is like, ‘Oh my God, why would she ever walk away? This is someone who would never hurt her. They love her, they adore her. I don’t understand what’s going on.’ And it’s because the brain, not her consciously, but the brain sees that relationship as something extremely uncertain. It can’t predict. So the instinct is to activate fight or flight and to run away.
[00:04:32] I know it sounds very counterintuitive, but what the brain perceives as familiar is often considered the safer option because it’s predictable. It doesn’t mean it’s the truly safe option. So then what happens? Oftentimes, unless this person does the healing that’s necessary, through therapy or whatever means, they will end up in another abusive relationship. Another example that might be a little more familiar is one where you grow up in a home and you watch your parents, you watch how they interact, and perhaps the way that one of your parents behave is not, you don’t like it. Like you love them, but you don’t like the way they handle relationships. So you say to yourself, I’m never gonna be in a relationship with someone who acts like, let’s just say mom, never gonna be in a relationship with someone who acts like mom. And then lo and behold, you go out into the world, you get outta high school, maybe you go to college, or maybe you’re in business for yourself, and you meet someone and you fall in love. And next thing you know, you realize is that you’ve fallen in love with someone who’s just like your mother. And how did this happen? How did it happen? Because you swore you would never be in a relationship who exhibited these specific, personality traits or characteristic? Well, the way that it happened is your subconscious picked up on those traits. It then recognized them as familiar. It didn’t matter that you didn’t like them. You grew up in that environment and it’s familiar to you. So the subconscious mind does that so that the sooner that you recognize that those things happen, you can curb those behaviors. Sometimes it requires some subconscious work. Not always, but that’s a couple of examples of how certainty can come from some very strange places.
[00:06:51] When it comes down to needing to be in control, the greatest control that you can have is the choice to actually let go. Because control is an illusion. You can’t control what’s going to happen next year any more than you can control what’s going to happen in the next 10 minutes. And you can say, ‘Well, of course Penny, I can control what’s gonna happen in the next 10 minutes on my calendar. I have this meeting and before I go to this meeting, I’m gonna finish listening to this podcast episode. I’m gonna go get a drink of water, come back, get out my notepad and pen and be ready for the meeting.’ Well, yes, you have a plan, but you can’t control that that meeting is actually gonna happen. You could lose internet. If it’s an in-person meeting, they may not make it to the meeting. You could trip and fall and break your wrist and need to go to the emergency room. There is zero control in life. Control is an illusion. And when you can move into the place where you realize the freedom is letting go of control, then you opened up your mind and your life to the possibilities of things you haven’t imagined before. Because when you’re trying to control, you are staying within your bubble… You’re boxing yourself in and you’re locking yourself into a certain set of circumstances by exercising control. When you can let go of that control and allow life to flow around you, opportunities, relationships, choices, come to you that you never realized you had before. They were there the whole time. You didn’t see ’em because of the walls of this box or this room that you’ve put yourself in when you’re the type of person who is holding on to control.
[00:09:04] When you value growth, when you value opportunity, when you value expanding your life beyond anything that you ever imagined, then you also value letting go. Because letting go gives you that freedom. Your power is in your ability to choose from moment to moment. And yes, sometimes it feels uncomfortable, but you can’t tell me as a highly successful person that you got to where you are knowing the outcome of every decision that you’re going to make. It’s impossible. And if you tell me that, ‘Oh, yes, I did know the outcome of every decision I made. I took a calculated risk that I’m going to tell you you took a calculated risk’, which means that you know there was no control involved. It was a game of chance. Everything is a game of chance, so the best thing to do is to just let go and to allow and to have fun creating whatever it is that you want in this life as we move from day to day. Because life is nothing more than a game. It’s all about how you show up in how you choose to be in this world. And being in control is limiting what it is that you can get out of life. That’s the bottom line.
[00:10:40] It was one of the hardest, one of the hardest, and I hate to use the word hard as a hypnotist, you know, this desk is hard. It was one of the most challenging lessons for me to learn; to let go of control because years in healthcare, in an anesthesia, even though I could not predict what was gonna happen, it was drilled in my head to anticipate, anticipate, and anticipate. That it was my job to be proactive for my patient. So I live for a very long time needing to be in as much control as possible, because to not maintain control of that situation would put someone’s life in danger. But within that, I also had to learn, I had no control because there were patients in situations and circumstances where you could do everything perfect. You could do everything beyond perfect, and whatever was gonna happen was gonna happen. And I wish that I had learned this lesson way back in my anesthesia career because then I would not have internalized and personalized a lot of things that happened that were outta my control, because I believed that on some level, I should have been able to prevent, delay or minimize when sometimes it just wasn’t possible. I was about to lay down a metaphor on you, but I figure it’s probably best left for, something else. But just to say that, you can only make a recipe with the ingredients that you’re given and in life we can’t always guarantee that we have the ingredients that we want. So then we just have to get crafty, creative, inventive, and do our best.
I hope you enjoyed this episode about control. It may have resonated with you. It may not have. It may resemble someone that, you know, here’s my recommendation. If it resembles someone that you know, I would not approach them with advice about it because one of the things about being in control is people are often very internally referenced, which means they may not receive that too well. So I’ll leave it to you to decide how you choose to share this information. Have a great week. I will catch you next time.