Sometime about 5 months ago, I came to the realization that I am really, really controlling.
Maybe it’s a teacher thing, maybe it’s the way I was brought up, but for some reason I seem to think I have complete control over my life, and in some instances, the lives of those around me.
I know, I know. Get off my high horse! In my defense, I didn’t realize I was being controlling. I was using my fears to try to write the script of my life.
The scariest part is I’ve been trying to make my life fit these safe, pretty expectations for 28 years. The only way to break free of the control mode and be truly happy is to analyze all of these behaviors.
Join me! You might find you’ve been controlling a thing or two yourself.
There are a few fears that are a little more productive because they prevent me from actual harm. Like…
I drive carefully and cautiously because I’m afraid I’ll be in an accident.
I wash my hands and take my vitamins because I’m afraid of getting sick.
I exercise because I’m afraid of feeling less energetic or being unhappy with my appearance.
If it weren’t for these fears, I’d be in some sort of actual danger. But what about the fears that are happiness-blockers?
1. I choose my words carefully because I’m afraid of the other person’s reaction or impression.
Happiness Blocker! Let’s pick this apart. Anxiety and fear just don’t hold up against intense scrutiny.
I can’t control the reaction of others, and it’s egotistical to think I can. Short of being all out offensive or inappropriate, why can’t I give my opinion or set boundaries with those around me? I’m not responsible for controlling their emotions or reactions, and I’d be happier if I told my truth instead of holding it in.
I’m afraid of what people will say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I’m sticking to my truth because it will make me a happier person.
2. I’m afraid to put myself in risky situations because I think something terrible will happen to me.
You’ll be able to relate to this if you were born and raised in an anxious family like I was. We’re scared of just about anything. Robbers, accidents, food that’s been out too long. You name it, we worry about it.
I’ve gotten so much better at overcoming my anxiety, but I used to be scared to go on long car rides, and even roller coasters were out of the question at one point.
Who am I to think I can control my destiny by avoiding anything that scares me? Something could happen to anyone at any minute. Spending your life carefully navigating anything risky does nothing but limit you from feeling fulfilled in life.
3. I don’t try new things because I’m unsure of what it will be like.
It feels ridiculous to even list this one. I hardly even realize I’m doing it, but how many times do I turn down going somewhere or doing something because it’s just plain new and scary? I need to force myself to try it because I always, always feel good after I’ve done it.
4. I don’t do something because I’m afraid of feeling the emotion that comes along with it.
How many times have you avoided saying something or doing something because it might make you sad or angry? You might actually have to choose to feel something other than positive. Ugh.
I haven’t visited my Gram in a while because her memory loss makes me sad. When I really analyze that, it again doesn’t stand a chance. It doesn’t even sound right as a sentence.
I want to grab myself by the shirt and give it a good shake. “That’s crazy talk! So what if you feel sad? What is sadness? It’s a feeling. A FEELING! You’re scared of a feeling? So you’ll feel sad for a minute. It’s like a spider sitting in your lap. Not that fun, but it won’t kill you, will it? So just let it sit there a minute. Feel its creepy, disgusting legs crawl across your skin. Hate every minute of it. But when it crawls off, you’ll still be there, feeling stronger.”
Fear is a sly, tricky beast that creeps in and messes with your choices. If you let the feeling of fear be your guide, you may miss out on opportunities to be genuinely happy.
Make a list of your fears, and then set them on fire. Not literally! Jeesh. Analyze and scrutinize those fears. It may be cliche, but figure out really, truly, what’s the worst that will happen?
If it will make you feel good, then embrace that fear and choose to do it anyway.