Recently, I was watching an interview between Oprah and William Paul Young, the author of the book The Shack. He made a point while talking about overcoming the struggles in his life that both struck me and provided some clarity. He was talking about how, because of his fears, he had attempted to control everything in his life and this attempt to control ultimately led to it all falling apart. What he said was this:
When fear is the predominating factor in a situation, we either move toward control or we move toward trust.
I ‘rewound’ the interview and watched it a few times to really allow it to sink in. And since then, I have seen this time and time again in my own life and in the life of others- patients, friends, family, students.
When we are operating from a base of fear, there are only 2 ways in which we tend to go. The first is my favorite. But not because it is more effective in the long run- that’s actually the issue. Control can be more effective in the short run, but in many ways, it is just delaying the inevitable. Attempting to control everything in your life is a great way to feel stressed out, disappointed, angry, and even more out of control. It is also a great way to perpetuate the fear that was behind it all to begin with.
It may seem like the smartest or the best choice, but control is truly just an illusion. It provides only a temporary fix to a much larger issue. The fear may seem overwhelming, too big to face, or as if it is coming from many different directions. It is tricky that way, and fear will convince you that you must control things in order to be “ok”. The fear will also dive down into your belief system and embed itself like a virus, influencing your decisions and behaviors.
A few of the ways that we try to control are by hiding, minimizing, making excuses, blaming, and playing small. These all serve no none.
The other way to go, if we are to turn away from control, is to trust. Gulp. This is where things get a little more difficult for some of us. To let go of the attempt to control and to trust that we will be alright no matter what happens can be a really big deal. We have to step out in faith that if we let go of our need to control, things will actually go as they should. We have to trust that life knows what it is doing and, sometimes this is more difficult, we have to trust that others can live their lives right.
Another piece of trusting is to allow things to not be perfect. If we just try doing our best each day, whatever our best is for this time in our journey, and at the end of the day, we can say that we did our best that day, then we can rest well and feel satisfied to be right where we are. We must also recognize that we aren’t really in control anyway. Both ‘control’ and ‘perfect’ are illusions that we can end up pouring all of our attention and energy into, finding ourselves burned out and feeling frustrated. We must be able to recognize that life will keep on going even if we don’t assert our control and if we (and everything else) aren’t perfect.
So, why not take a load off of yourself and try the trusting? It may be scary, but it is worth a try. Aim for whatever your best is today and trust The Universe to handle the rest. You can let go of a ton of worry and stress if you trust enough to go with the flow a little more.
You can try using a mantra as a reminder to help you get through; something as simple as “I trust…”.
Try it on and see how it feels. If it feels uncomfortable, then keep going! That means you are on the verge of growth.
I will be trying right along with you.
Talk again soon,