The Mental Health Message | By Dr. Porsha Dodson
If I had a dollar for every time, this word came up in therapy….I don’t need to finish this sentence, do I? Let’s talk about what control actually is; the power to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. Looking at this definition, I can tell you now it is even more clear to me why we struggle so much with control. We do not have the power to truly direct anyone or anything beyond the surface but ourselves. Why does the concept of control make us feel safe? Why are we so anxious about the unknown?
Control is the bridge of what we know, connecting our world away from everything we think we don’t know. Out of control, we are anxious…breathing hard and filling the quiet with people, places, and things only to find ourselves right back out of control. A sentiment I always share with clients is that control is an illusion and an imaginary safety net that allows us to believe that what we are doing is safer because we know all the details. Life is fragile regardless of what you know or don’t know, and chasing control only brings you to the limits of your mind, which brings you to frustration more often because realistically, we can only control one person… ourselves.
In this season full of temptations to fill the spaces with noise and company and things… challenge yourself to understand that it is in your flexibility that you have the greatest strength, not in your limits. Challenge yourself to recognize that in this massive space, you are a tiny piece that controls very little, and in that, we can find peace. Find peace in the fact that we don’t have to worry about every little thing… it will all happen just as it’s supposed to. Does this excuse you from the work that you are doing daily to improve your behavior and circumstances? No, it gives you permission to let go of expectations and fear. Other folks will do what they can or not. We have no control over that. We can only control our reactions, involvement, and participation in this world.
And that is where we should dive deeper to make this life the most meaningful experience to us.
Take care of you this winter and all that it brings.