Can you take control by giving up control? What its all about is influence.
One of the most dominant messages of society is control.
There are any number of examples of this you can look to. Control over immigration; shifting control of industries away from federal regulations; controlling the media to be more favorable to one opinion or the other. Everywhere you look, there are attempts at assuming, creating, destroying, or otherwise shifting control.
These can be overwhelming. Most likely, the impact they will have on you is peripheral. That’s not to say that deregulation of certain industries allowing for more pollution and toxic waste isn’t a problem. But you have very little that you can do to effect this.
What’s more, there are numerous people whom you get to see abuse their power by trying to control this, that, or the other thing. Whether it’s a woman’s body or a transgendered person’s identity, some jerk is trying to control the behaviors, actions, and life of others.
Again, you can only do so much when it comes to having an impact on this. Write the letters, blogs, and emails; make the calls; attend the protests; damn well vote in the elections.
There is only one person over whom you can exert any control whatsoever. You.
Any control you have is limited
Here’s where this gets more complicated. When you recognize that the only person over whom you have any control is you yourself, there are still limitations to what that means. For some people, this can be a bitter pill to swallow, because they demand control over everything they believe they should be capable of controlling.
Realistically, the list of what you can control isn’t very long. All of it is about you.
These are the things you can control:
There might be a few more, but you get the idea. Everything within your control, even to the slightest degree, is entirely about you.
Many of the things over which you might desire to exert some control over, you can’t. Primarily, these include the thoughts, feelings, and actions of other people; the environment; the passage of time.
Even when it comes to the things which you have some control over, often it’s not so much about control as it is about influence.
How this works
Yes, you are the only one inside your head thinking and feeling the things you think and feel. However, other, outside influences will impact this. For example, suppose a friend betrays you, steals the credit for something you have done, and receives the accolades in your stead therein.
Does the very idea of this upset you? You feel betrayed, angry, hurt, frustrated, enraged, and the how of that feeling is going to manifest in some way or other. As you think about the betrayal, other thoughts about other betrayals of the past or potential betrayals in the future might come about. Before you know it, you could be spiraling into an ever-increasing whirlpool of negativity.
Technically, you can regain control over your thoughts and feelings, in order to stop the downward spiral. Realistically, it’s not that easy. Since you are not an emotionless Vulcan, and feelings run deep, taking back control over your thoughts and feelings in this sort of situation is more about influence.
This is where mindfulness comes in. First, you need to become consciously aware of the thoughts and feelings you are having in the here-and-now, rather than letting this sink into your subconscious. When you become aware of this, you can begin the process of influencing the thoughts and feelings you hold by focusing on new ones.
You cannot just assume control over your mind and, like the flip a switch, change the setting. It’s simply not possible. Neither can you avoid a situation like this, because in being social creatures and having human contact, this sort of thing will happen, and bad experiences can and will occur.
What control is there?
The first thing to take into account is that you only can influence control over yourself. You cannot control anyone else and what they think, feel, or do. The second thing to take into account is that when it comes to things that impact your thinking and feeling, it’s a lot easier to deal with local, direct matters than indirect, far-flung issues.
Your sphere of influence is limited. Directly, it’s all about you. However, indirectly, you CAN influence those around you. But that is an ancillary matter when all is said and done.
When you come across as together, with it, confident, positive, hopeful, and other such impressions, this can influence people around you in a good way. It is important, however, to recognize that this is not a matter of putting on a mask or being in any way false for the sake of making an impression on anyone else. This is about being genuine, true to yourself, and asserting influence to gain control over the things you have any possibility of controlling. Namely, your way of thinking and feeling.
It is in this way that you can take control by giving up control. This means you work less on taking control over yourself and instead focus on influencing what you can. Recognizing that control is limited and fleeting, you can work to shift your perspective and strive for influence through mindfulness of yourself. Consciousness creates reality, but it does so via mindfulness of yourself.
If you are any kind of control freak, this can feel disingenuous to your self. But recognizing and working with this will actually make your life a lot more fulfilling and much less stressful in the process. That is empowering when all is said and done.
What do you desire to have influence over?
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done, control is not all that important.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on June 19, 2019.