I think one of the biggest things we all struggle with is the concept of giving up our need for control. I know I do.
But there’s a problem with always wanting to be in control and controlling everything around us, whether it’s how our other half behaves, or desperately trying to cling onto that job that you know you’re about to be made redundant from (yes, I know that’s a tough one).
The problem is this: we have no control over those things. The only thing we have control over is how we react to adverse situations and things in our lives. I know it’s a cliche but remember that good old buddhist saying that goes something like: if you can change it — don’t worry; if you can’t change it — don’t worry…
But, we still have a problem. It’s all very well saying ‘don’t worry’ and ‘don’t try and control other people and situations’, but how do we actually manage that?
One of the problems is that we’re sort of hard-wired from an evolutionary point of view. if we are in control of our environment, then we have a far better chance of survival. So our deep subconscious mind gives us strong biochemical pokes when we face some kind of danger (think fight-or-flight response).
Psychologist Abraham Maslow defined a hierarchy of needs, with a particular emphasis on the fact that when our lower-level needs are not met, then higher-level needs will be abandoned in favour of our deeper needs.
Take a look at the needs:
One of the big problems facing us today is that many of us are living in real fear that our basic physiological needs may not be met. I heard on the radio (BBC radio 4, so it must be true!) that salaries in the UK have not risen for 10 years… 10 years! And with worldwide financial and security problems on the rise it’s hardly surprising that so many of us are worried and desperately trying to control our environments. But the fact still remains — we haven’t got control over who wins elections (if we voted for the other side) or the state of financial markets (unless we’re one of the City’s Fat Cats), and even the ‘Fat Cats’ are under threat in today’s world.
Relax — Nothing is Under Control
So, how do we manage to relax and let it all go? All I can say is, like most things, it takes practice. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you — situations, events, people… Whether they are loved ones, co-workers, or just strangers you meet on the street — just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better that will make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try … the world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu