What Do We Really Have Control Over?
Author: Tresa Clemmensen M.SC. CCC
Many of us invest much energy into trying to control things in our lives that is not ours to control. The eating disorder thrives off of this as the more we feel out of control in our lives, the more likely we are to try to control aspects of our lives that work to maintain the eating disorder. Learning to invest our energy into what we do have control over and let go of what we do not have control over frees us. So what do we really have control over?
YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER THE CHOICES YOU MAKE: You have full responsibility for the choices you make. Many things/feelings/thoughts we have no control over but we can decide what we do with these feelings when they show up. Often when emotions show up that we are uncomfortable with we may choose to avoid, escape, suppress to get rid or control-this does not work and is referred to as emotional avoidance. We can work towards staying with these uncomfortable emotions by acknowledging their presence, let them be, and observe them with a sense of curiosity and kind acceptance. (Side note: An eating disorder is Not a Choice; however when you are ready to work on recovery, Recovery is a choice).
YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR ACTIONS: Your actions are what you do with your hands, feet and mouth. For example, if you want to change the color of your room, you can go out and buy new paint and then paint the walls. If you are in a job you do not like, then you can quit that job, seek out a new employer. You can choose to respond to the unpleasant thoughts, memories, physical sensations, and feelings that are dished out by your mind and body.
YOU CAN CONTROL YOU DESTINY: The cumulative effect of your choices and your actions will determine what your life will become-in other words your destiny. This does not mean that the outcome of your choices and actions will always be what you want. Many events in life, both good and bad, will happen outside of your control. What most people hope for is that the cumulative effect of their choices and actions will yield a sense that their life was lived well.
LETTING GO OF THE STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL: Letting go of the struggle for control isn’t as hard as it may seem. It begins with you making a decision to do so. The hardest part is putting your decision into action. One of the main barriers to action is failing to spot places where you have control and places where you don’t have much control. Falling back into the old control agenda, where control is not possible, is a sure fire way to stay stuck. To get unstuck and keep yourself from getting stuck, you will need to develop a greater ease in the early detection of situations where control is not possible in your life; as expending time and effort in these areas is a waste of your precious energy.