Control, Let It Go

November 23, 2015

Control. Deny it all I like,  there’s a significant part of me that likes to have control. Eek, that’s not so easy to admit. Control, at least it’s negative aspects, is a pretty ugly word.

I remember days gone by when I was all carefree, super chilled and pretty relaxed about practically everything. I thought that’s how I was anyway. Now I’m not sure if a part of me has changed, or if I was just never really challenged before. The latter is perhaps more likely. 

Children, especially our own, challenge us in ways no one else ever does. I’d certainly never felt as pushed to my limits or as triggered as I’ve felt with my kids. I adore them, they light up my world, but it’s safe to say I’ve never felt such extreme emotions. I’ve never had to exert so much self control over my own emotions as I need to now. Nor has it ever been as important.

It’s the little things. It’s not usually anything of great importance that highlights my unsavoury desire to feel like I have control. 

This is from Scott Noelle, writer of The Daily Groove…
“As Einstein famously said, we can’t solve our problems with the same kind of thinking that created them. In parenting, most problems are created or sustained by the mistaken belief that control is the same as power. Parents who are truly powerful don’t focus on controlling their children’s behavior, nor are they controlled by their children.”

When I let it go and accept that I cannot control my child’s behaviour and the choices they make, I actually feel a sense of freedom.
In reality I have taken back power.
I have regained power over my own emotions and reactions. 

A daily, albeit minor issue for me in the past had been helping my children to get dressed. Getting dressed in what I would deem appropriate clothing. If I let it, this could be an every day struggle. My kids inevitably want to wear summer type clothing in the middle of winter. Once upon a time I would feel something rise up in me that was pretty self righteous and controlling. I’d think “I know better”, “I have a better idea” etc. These days,  I let it go. They choose their outfits, I take a pair of pants and a cardigan as we head out for if/when they are cold.

Then there are bigger triggers of course.  Things that I really wish I could control,  stop or prevent. Things like siblings hurting one another, everyone needing me at the same time, tantrums, the day falling apart and not going according to plan and so on. I’m learning that it’s ok to feel emotions in response to these events. I’m also trying really hard to learn how to own them. That means changing my thinking and language. 
So instead of saying (or thinking) things like “my kids are driving me crazy” or “they make me lose it when….” I am trying to say “I feel angry about…” or “I feel frustrated about…” I need to own my feelings rather than blaming my children for them. They are not responsible for how I am feeling. It will be a pretty rocky ride if my kids are in control of my emotions.

Another helpful thought that motivates me to deal with my feelings more appropriately and to let things go is this…

“There is a little space between stimulus and response, and in this space lies your power to choose your reaction. Don’t give away this power.”

Taken from Basic Steps to Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom, click here to read more

Linda Clement says…
“Our fear response is swift and powerful, but when we can feel the time available to think about what we want to do our higher capabilities can transcend the immediate reaction.”
Click here to view Linda’s blog

This is my goal, to learn how to be aware of that space, of the time space that exists between a trigger and my response. I have a feeling that as I own and allow my emotions to exist, and let go of control, I will be able to do this. Each day, as events unfold, ask yourself if it matters, if you need to be in control of this particular outcome or situation. Feeling less concerned about being in control will bring more calm into our lives and allow us to be less reactive - and ironically in more control, of ourselves. 

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