How Do I Let Go Of My Need To Control?

Does anyone else feel like the whole world is getting a giant 1:1 lesson on what they can and cannot control??

I see lists that people have made all over Instagram that look something like this:

Things that I Cannot Control

  • The weather
  • The Government
  • Other people’s choices
  • My kids
  • My husband
  • Earthquakes
  • Viruses

Things that I Can Control

  • My thoughts
  • My feelings
  • My actions
  • My reactions
  • My energy
  • My results

I think that looking at this for yourself is a really useful exercise. Write it all down and notice where you feel some resistance. Do you really believe that you cannot control your kids? Do you really believe that you have 100% control over your thoughts and actions? 

It is so interesting to notice which of these items on the list push your internal buttons, and then ask yourself if that resistance is serving you. SO VALUABLE!

I just wish he would…

But I want to zero in today on the idea that you cannot control your husband, because I hear about this from you guys every single day. Every day!

I think we all know intellectually that we cannot control our husbands or their actions, but holy guacamole do we still work really hard at trying to do it. 

Here is what that looks like and how I hear it when I am talking to my clients.. 

-I just want him to be happier.

-I want him to have a better relationship with our kids.

-His job is a toxic environment and he needs to just leave. It’s hurting him. 

-I just wish that he would be more aware of my needs.

-He needs to appreciate me more.

-He is really manipulative and it hurts me.

We all have these thoughts from time to time, and they are all some form of the idea that we want to control him. 

So how do we let go of this need to control?

I think the first step is recognizing that control, except when it comes to your own thoughts, feelings and actions, is 100% an illusion. When we can really truly, in your body believe this concept, trying to control him feels kind of like tilting at windmills. A total waste of effort and emotion. We can see it as futile, and then move on to a different strategy that will work better.

But the problem for most of us is that we don’t really believe that we can’t control him. Not really. And that is ok. 

If you find yourself feeling the need to control, it really is ok. It is pretty natural even. So please don’t beat yourself up about it. Our natural inclination s humans is to try to control the things and people around us. Our primitive brain thinks that it is really necessary. 

What I want you to do is to just start playing with the idea of loosening the grip. Not letting it go completely. Just loosen the grip a little bit. You with me?

Here is what it looks like to lessen the grip. 

-I want him to be happy AND he can choose not to be.

-I want him to have a better relationship with the kids AND he can choose to be distant.

-I think he needs to leave his job AND he can choose not to.

-I want him to be aware of my needs AND he can be unaware.

-I wish that he appreciated me more AND he can get frustrated when I don’t do things his way.

-I wish he didn’t try to control/manipulate me AND he can resist when I try to control/manipulate him. 

It is the power of AND, my friends. Both to the sides of the story can be true. You are 100% allowed to want him to be different and he is 100% allowed to want to be the way he is. Neither is right or wrong. They are just both two equally valid opinions.  

Approaching tricky situations from this perspective of AND helps us to loosen our grip a little on trying to control. We start to acknowledge it really isn’t a matter of black vs. white- right vs. wrong.  It is a matter of two different shades of gray. Two equally valid ways of seeing the world. 

If you feel like you need some more personalized help with learning how to let go of trying to control, I would love to chat and give you some personalized recommendations for how to feel better in your marriage. Just click on the link below to set up a Consult Call and we will get to work in helping you feel better.