When I recently contacted a dear friend from much earlier days in my life to tell her about the publication of Losing Control, Finding Serenity, the book’s notion of our constant need to control struck a very strong chord in her. After telling me how my description of myself 30 years ago so perfectly described her as well (a life consumed with “gripping fear, obsessive worry, anger and rage—and my unrelenting compulsion to try to control everything and everyone”) she shared with me a fascinating fear based control story.
While on a moving gurney for cancer surgery with unknown outcomes she was actually negotiating with the anesthesiologist at the last minute about how long she was going to be “out” because the loss of control was what she feared most about the surgery. That really confirmed to me once more how huge an impact fear has on our controlling behaviors.
Fear is the predominant cause and source of our need to control. That is why I named the chapter in my book on fear “Fear: Control’s Best Friend”. We are fearful of the unknown and the unexpected and are consumed with “what ifs” and “what might happens”, as my friend’s experience so aptly illustrates. At our very core, we are fearful of our very survival. This propels us to grip and hold on tightly in our efforts to find safety and security in an inherently insecure world. Not once do we consider, however, that the more we strive for security the more insecure we become.
We need to lose fear in order to lose control. To do this effectively it is important to separate the real facts from the dramas that our emotions script with respect to our unsettling concerns. The real facts are rarely as foreboding as our imaginations make them to be. Once we unemotionally examine the real facts, our fears will begin to diminish, and with that our need to control.
It is also extremely important to confront and process our fears. In my book, I call this “face and embrace” and provide examples and true case histories. For now you can start by practicing what the following lines from my poem Fictions’s Best Seller encourage you to do:
“Yet…truly a coward until masked
Stare its stare
Deflect its glare
Strip it bare.”
I would love to hear how these fear decontrol tools work for you.
In the meantime, remember to,
Let It Go–and Accept “What Is!”
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