When things get hectic and crazy in life, it’s easy to feel that sense of losing control.
As if we really had control in the first place.
It could be a job loss, the end of a major relationship, kids leaving for college, a loved one dying, or more than one of these events, happening at once.
But what we really mean when we say “I need to figure out how to take control of my life again” is really about getting control over ourselves, which is the only way I know how to take control of your life – to get it back from the throes of uncertainty.
I’ll simplify the process of regaining control of your life into three things…your fears, accepting what is, and moving towards what we want to be and see happen.
Even though I’m writing about them in order, they don’t necessarily occur in this order, it’s more like a dance between them. It’s a dynamic, living process, just like you.
I spent years and years and years trying to overcome fear before doing something I was afraid of, one of my biggest being talking to women I’m attracted to.
I tried to push it, melt it, fight it, conquer it and more. Though occasionally I could bring the fear to a low enough level before doing something, I found this approach didn’t work so well.
That’s because I didn’t understand the nature of fear, and that fear is not a bad thing, in and of itself. It’s just fear. It shows up and it goes away quickly if I don’t resist it.
Fear is meant to help us survive, it’s a protector. The problem is most of our fear response gets tied into a story or belief system and we associate the fear with a particular narrative.
This is where we lose control, by not realizing fear is just fear, and it’s not our story.
Acknowledge fear for what it is, see it, experience it. Not only that, but you can actually learn to go towards the fear, go inside of it, embrace it, become friends with it.
Just this step alone will do wonders for taking back control of your life. This applies to the feeling of being out of control. When you are feeling out of control, you are in a state of fear.
What are you not acknowledging or embracing about your fear?
The art of self-acceptance is an age-old and powerful practice. It’s very closely related to acknowledging fear.
It’s about not rejecting ourselves, our situation and our experience. Because at any given moment, we have what we have, we are who we are.
Of course that can shift, but to deny this truth, is to reject ourselves, and create resistance that just isn’t necessary.
When we have a fear (or feel like we’ve lost control in our lives), and we think we shouldn’t have it, we get mad at ourselves, say nasty things to ourselves in our minds like “I’m such a fucking idiot, why do I feel this way, this out of control?”
The best way I know of, is to practice meditation regularly (see the post on “how to do meditation” if unfamiliar with this practice).
Self-acceptance is an on-going, ever-living process, and though you will make leaps and bounds with it, and probably have many shifts to higher levels of acceptance, it must be continued to be practiced and embodied.
As human beings, we are “walking practices” as strange as that may sound. What habits we engage in everyday, shape ourselves and thus our lives.
If your life is out of control, then what you’ve been practicing in terms of thinking, handling your emotions, and what you put into body and how you treat it, all dramatically affect how you “show up”.
Accept where you are at, and start to form a plan of the change you want to be, which is our next subject to address. (NOTE: I am not a fan of the concept of “overcoming low self esteem” – I believe in the self-acceptance route.
Getting Ultra-Clear on What You Want
If you want to get back control of your life again, after you get your bearings, and know where you are, you have to point yourself to where you want to go. You have to decide on what you want, and go big with it.
Sometimes it’s surprising to me, when I ask people what they want (whether in a coaching session, or just a casual conversation with a friend) that they have no idea what they really want.
Often they’ll start to say mainstream stuff, that everybody I suppose wants, but the language sounds regurgitated, and not personalized. Just like a commercial.
That’s because they haven’t taken the time to stretch their minds and really explore the possibilities of what they want, how they want to be, what they want to do and have.
One of the most important parts of this process is to enter a space of lightness, play and creativity. If you approach this process in seriousness, heaviness and linear process, it’s going to be hard to see new possibilities that were outside of your reality.
The greatest discoveries and inventions of our world, happened because people were willing to go beyond what the status quo thought was impossible. The Wright Brothers, Albert Einstein and so many more.
Even with the advent of quantum physics and string theory, the possibilities are shown to be practically endless. It’s just mind blowing.
Once you learn how to enter this space of possibility and creativity, it becomes more and more exciting. It becomes a blast in fact.
So sitting down, and writing out what you want in your different areas of life is a great place to start. I prefer to do it in a “life map” type of scenario, as I don’t like to always use linear lists.
I suggest you try out both. Some great areas to start with are health, wealth, love/relationships, community, career, etc. Then you can start to express what you want, and what’s important to you.
Hint: as human beings, we are creatures that seek meaning and purpose. Focusing on what’s more important to you, what gives you a sense of meaning when writing out your life list, or drawing out your life map, will help you with this.
In executing the above, I like to emphasize the importance of mindfulness and persistence. Mindfulness means focusing your attention on what’s in front of you with personal power, but also in a non-judgmental, gentle way.
Persistence is to not give up on your life or yourself, so you can really have a strong foundation when rediscovering how to take control of your life again.
Remember it’s a dance between the three points I wrote about above, and you can and will shift between them.
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