How often have you suffered because of a “need” to control everything? How many times have you held your breath, anticipating something favorable? On how many blind dates have you forced yourself to go because you wanted a relationship immediately? Many — if you’re anything like me. Perhaps you also had it perfectly planned out how things would work out if it was the “right” way — the job, relationship, house, pregnancy — whatever. If it didn’t go your way, you just kept fighting whatever was hampering your plans.
Looking back on my own life, I wish I’d just sat back and “enjoyed the ride” rather than forcing things to happen.
Being stubbornly addicted to my plan led to much anxiety, negativity and discontent — all because I needed a way of knowing, which was planning. The fact is, “when nothing’s sure, anything’s possible.” Sometimes, even we couldn’t have imagined the possibilities.
Here are seven simple ways to help you overcome the need to control everything and relax into life.
1. Realize there are many ways to get there.
Sometimes, we just get too set into our ideal way. Say, “I’ve found a truth” rather than “the truth;” “the soul walking on my path” rather than “the path to my soul.” The soul walks on all paths; it neither walks on a line nor grows like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals (Kahlil Gibran
2. Notice areas of life where you are holding on too tightly.
Write it all down, then zoom out to see the bigger picture. Fear may be causing you to look at the situation through a narrow lens. What else is possible? Use your imagination.
3. Say, “I go with the flow of life and trust things to work out for me.”
Affirmations bring the subconscious a new message. For years, you may have thought, “This is how things should work out, otherwise it’s bad.” Repeat the above affirmation to yourself daily.
4. Be okay with not knowing.
Margaret Drabble said, “When nothing’s sure, anything’s possible.” Not knowing can lead to life-altering experiences.
5. Imagine yourself an 80-year-old grandparent reminiscing about your life.
The greatest stories you tell your grandchildren will undoubtedly be the surprises, the last-minute changes, the random incidents that lead to something important — which is what life is really about!
6. Choose a new word or words to support life
While you may not have realized this, there are words that we use to describe the good and bad experiences in our lives. Try replacing the negative ones you use with positive ones, such as exciting for perfect or adventurous for scary.
7. Collect evidence from past experiences.
Make a list of the times you either couldn’t predict what was to happen or it didn’t come out as you wanted. List the positive things that resulted, and notice how one door opened as another closed.
Now, take the time to see what you learned about yourself. Anything is possible with such a level of acceptance.
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