For many years I tried to be in control of everything. I obsessed and future-tripped. I tried to force the outcomes I wanted, and I worked hard to make sure things happened on my timeline. As a result, I was overworked, stressed and blocking the support of the Universe.
These are very recognizable ways that we try to control our lives, and it’s likely you can relate to at least one! You can probably name some other obvious ones — like being a perfectionist, micromanaging others and insisting on always being in charge.
We all try to control
Even if you’re not really a Type A person, the fact is that we all try to control our lives in one way or another.
Some of the ways that our need to control manifests are actually quite sneaky and hard to detect! So in this post I’m sharing three signs that you’re secretly trying to control your life, plus tips and techniques for how you can start to let go.
3 signs you’re secretly trying to control your life
1. You sweat the small stuff
Do you get hung up on seemingly minor things? You might agonize over things like…
- Which pair of shoes to buy
- The snacks your office stocks in the vending machines
- What to pack for a trip
Obsessing over the small stuff often means we feel out of control in a bigger area of our life and we’re putting off dealing with it.
I like to say that the small stuff reveals the big stuff. So when you notice you’re hung up on something seemingly petty, that’s a cue to turn inward and ask yourself what’s really going on.
Ask for guidance: Meditate and journal
But like I said, the small stuff reveals the big stuff. Meditating and free-writing can help you uncover the bigger issue dwelling beneath the surface by allowing intuitive guidance to come forward.
2. You ask a lot of people for their opinions
Do you ask a million people for their perspective before making a decision?
You might do this with really small decisions (like what to order at a restaurant) as well as major life choices.
When we ask for a lot of opinions, it shows that we don’t trust our own intuition. We’re trying to eliminate all uncertainty or risk by having as many people as possible weigh in and offer up their analysis.
It might be the case that you do know what you want, but you’re seeking out validation and reassurance in order to feel safe. Or maybe you’re scared of a big change and hoping people you trust will essentially make the decision for you.
To be clear, I’m not saying that talking over big decisions with others is a bad thing. Sometimes saying everything out loud helps you get clear about what you want. And sometimes the decision isn’t yours alone to make, in which case you obviously need to involve others.
But if you can’t make a decision without consulting a bunch of people, then it’s a sign that your need to control is coming through.
Make decisions more easily
Check out my spiritual method for making decisions you feel great about. There are some awesome tips in here to help you with big and small decisions like.
Meditation is a powerful tool for strengthening your intuition. Press play below to practice my guided meditation to clear blocks and receive guidance.
3. You check out or avoid dealing with things
This one might seem counterintuitive at first because it involves the opposite of what we think of as controlling behavior. If you regularly check out, defer decisions to others or tell yourself you don’t care, you may just convince yourself that you’re laid-back.
But there’s a difference between being laid-back and avoiding. When we avoid, we’re anything but laid-back! In fact, avoidance is the most insidious way that our need to control shows up.
It’s a way of controlling our fears of failing, feeling disappointed and being judged by others.
Think about it…
- If you never ask for a raise, you can’t be turned down.
- If you don’t go on that blind date, you can’t be rejected.
- If you never start your business, then it can’t fail.
How to stop avoiding and start taking action
One of my mantras has always been “Eff it, let’s go!” This is an attitude of doing something for the sake of doing it. Get into action and don’t worry whether everything works out the way you expected. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll still get four huge benefits:
- You’ll take a step away from your ego’s fear.
- You’ll free yourself from the constriction of your comfort zone.
- You’ll learn something that will inform your next action.
- You’ll feel energized and empowered by the fact that you felt the fear and did it anyway.
I also have a few blog posts that will help you get into action and become more fearlessly free…
Do you avoid things because they make you anxious? Check out spiritual and practical tools for handling anxiety.
Do you tend to start things and then drop them? Learn how to follow through on your ideas.
Are you stuck in a rut? Follow my guidance for how to get off your butt and into action!
How to let go of the need to control
The first step to letting go of the need to control is to gently witness that you’re doing it. Honor the feelings behind it. Trying to control is merely a way to resist difficult emotions.
I want to emphasize that it’s important to be very compassionate with yourself. Remember that we all try to control in different ways. What matters is your willingness to change. I honor you for doing this work on your spiritual and personal growth.
I also hope you’re proud of yourself for your willingness to get real! The voice of your ego wants to keep you in the dark, but you’re choosing love instead. You’re outing your ego and laughing at its madness. This is a miracle!
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When you think you’ve surrendered, surrender more
But when we fixate too much on achieving our goals and sticking to our plans, we get in our own way. We become convinced that we know what’s best. We relentlessly pursue the path of our ego. And in doing so, we cut off our communication with the Universe.
This behavior keeps us from manifesting what is of the highest good for all. In order to allow the presence of love to shine upon every area of our life, we must remember that hope never rests.
The pathway back to hope is through surrender. It’s not something that comes naturally to us — it must be a daily practice. The need to control is sneaky. The ego thinks it knows the way, and it does everything it can to keep us in a headlock.
If you’re in need of surrender, begin each day with these words:
Today I surrender my goals and plans to the care of the Universe. I offer up my agenda and accept spiritual guidance. I trust that there is a plan far greater than mine. I know that where there once was lack and limitation there are spiritual solutions and creative ideas. I step back and let love lead the way. Thy will be done.
I hope this blog post has helped you recognize some sneaky ways that our need to control pops up. And I hope I’ve given you useful tools and guidance to let go of that need to control! Leave a comment letting me know if you recognize yourself in these behaviors, and commit to spiritual surrender!