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Are You In Control or In Charge?

Over the weekend, I heard a woman talking about parenting two children under ten. She laughed and said, “I may be in charge, but I’m definitely not in control.” Control over much of anything, other than what we choose to say or do (and even that feels out-of-control sometimes), is an illusion. All life is impermanent, making our attempts to control similar to nailing jello to the wall. In other words, futile.

There are forces in the Universe that make sure impermanence lives on. Impermanence or things beyond our control can be viewed in two ways. One, it creates frustration because we are typically more comfortable with constancy than change. Two, impermanence is a gift, because it makes every moment limitless. “It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not. Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.” Nhat Hanh

How often have you felt a sense of powerlessness when it comes to making changes or in creating the life you desire? Unfortunately, this sense of powerlessness is all too common. When feeling powerless, it’s not unusual to attempt to control the people, things, or circumstances in your life.

Too often, people live life from the outside-in, desperate to achieve happiness and success by meeting expectations (sometimes our own and more often other peoples) and by attempting to control our circumstances and outcomes. Many have become preoccupied with creating the ‘perfect’ life, material gain, physical beauty, and financial wealth in the hope these externals will fill the internal well.

And yet, with all that control and manipulation, we remain discouraged, addicted, stressed, unwell, and self-doubting individuals. Control along with outside-in approaches don’t sustain us or fill our inner well.

Perhaps, you believe controlling your external world will restore your sense of internal power or put you in charge. You think having control will make things less stressful, that it will get you what you want - whether it’s a feeling, person, situation, thing, or a circumstance. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The more you control, the more out-of-control things become, and the more exhausted, depleted, and stressed you feel.

As you come to understand your efforts to control as wasted energy, reconnect to your inner power, the perspective that puts you in charge of yourself and how you experience life.

With Grace, Kimble

P.S. More about how to leave control behind while taking charge of your real power in Thursday’s Catalyst Conversation

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