How Much Control Do We Really Have?

October 10, 2021

Hi Friends! The illusion of control is an age-old problem in our society, thinking that we somehow play a role in the way that our lives will go. While this is true in most cases, some things are simply out of our control. If you have a problem with plans going awry, freak out while running late or missing a turn, or even just want to learn how to better manage your anxiety and anger, join me.

My journey has not always been an easy one, often being mistaken for toxic positivity or naivety. I’m going to assure you, I am neither of those things. I KNOW when a situation is bad – often I am more aware of it than others. The key difference is that I have taken a vow to myself (and my wellbeing) to assess the situation, feel my feelings, take my next steps, and stay calm. (AFTS is what I invented in my head. Enjoy)

We, as a society, are misguided by our peers, the media, and teachers alike that we are somehow meant to be prepared. Prepared for what, you ask? Everything, apparently. We are thrown into this world surrounded by people who are still learning themselves, and while this is a truly beautiful thing to watch unfold, sometimes the illusion of control gets tricky. How many times have you chastised yourself for spilling a drink? How about dropping something? Forgetting? We are so hard on ourselves, for many reasons. I’m here to tell you its okay to tone it down and go with the flow – I promise your quality of life will increase dramatically. 

Let’s test our AFTS – again, you’re welcome for the super cool acronym that I definitely invented. Starting with A. Assessing the situation seems easy enough when written on paper, but it takes some practice. The most important thing to remember while in this stage is sometimes, with a bigger event, you could be in shock. You can use some grounding techniques to remain semi-calm, and not let your anxiety and panic spiral out of control. I’m not meaning to sound emotionless here, but ridiculing yourself for something that was out of your control is doing way more harm than good. Besides, being cruel to yourself never plays out well for anyone. Being gentle with yourself, realizing what happened, and assessing the situation is the prime first step in letting go of control. By all means – be mad. You can cry, be angry and be upset. What I don’t want you to do, though, is let your emotions completely take hold of you in the moment. It takes work, but I know you can do it!

Feel your feelings. Let me repeat that, FEEL YOUR FEELINGS! In no way, shape, or form should feelings, especially strong ones, be ignored and shoved away like last night’s leftovers. Feelings are oftentimes unpleasant. Something that I’ve learned, however, if growth does not happen inside of your comfort zone. Ask yourself why you are feeling the way you do, and then simply sit with that emotion for a minute. Let it run through your veins, touching your heart and nervous system, and then release it. You felt it, it’s gone. This doesn’t mean it won’t come back, but you can repeat the process as many times as you’d like!

Photo by Madison Inouye on

Taking your next steps could be anything from ordering a replacement for something broken, or calling your insurance company. The most important thing to remember with this step is letting go of control. What happened, happened. There’s no way out of it now. The only thing you can do is accept it and decide where to go from here. This may sound cold, but trust me, feeling your feelings can take a long time. Taking your next steps is reserved for when the light starts to flood back into the end of the tunnel. You being comfortable with your emotions is the most important in any given situation – don’t underestimate sitting with yourself for a bit. 

Staying calm is the hardest thing for lots of people. Until you’ve truly learned to let go of the illusion of control you may never be calm. One thing that I want you to remember throughout this whole process is to be gentle with yourself. Nobody gets this life thing down pat on their first try, and spoiler, nobody gets out of it alive either. 

Remember that shit happens, it always has and it always will. Trying to control things that are out of our control is futile and only causes more distress and feelings of inadequacy. There is enough guilt in this world, don’t feel the need to contribute to it for something that isn’t your fault. 

Thanks for reading, friends! 

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Veronica – Weekly Wellness

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