Agonizing Over What & Who We Can’t Control


What does control mean to you? Does it mean peace, relaxation, less stress? Or does it mean happiness – as in can you only be happy if you have complete control over everything and everyone around you?

It meant all those things and more to me once upon a time. I was only happy and stress-free when I could make everyone around me behave exactly how I wanted them to all the time. If I couldn’t I would literally start to twitch and then become angry at them because they dared to defy me and my will.

It was ugly. I was ugly. I was miserable. I made everyone around me miserable.

Because the cold, hard reality of the matter is I have no control over anyone or anything other than me and even that’s iffy at times…

So why am I rehashing this now?

Because I’ve recently met some people lost in the depth of control. They are fighting everything and everyone except what they need to fight – the urge to control. They haven’t figured out the futility of control.

Control is such an illusion or maybe it’s really a delusion. Because what can we really control in the short life we live? No matter what we do or say or feel the sun will still come up tomorrow, the sun will still set, and people will still be people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should give up, stop trying, not work to reach goals or dreams. I’m saying we should keep working, keep trying, and above all else keep dreaming because we can’t control our circumstances or the people or world around us.

There is something very freeing about accepting our lack of control because it also means we are not responsible for everything. I used to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I thought it was my responsibility to make everyone around me happy and right. It was my responsibility to make sure everyone I knew made the right decisions and made sure their lives went in the right direction.

Except it wasn’t. I can’t make anyone make the decisions I think are best for them and that includes R.J. and my stepson. I can’t. Well, maybe I can, but that doesn’t mean I should because it will only frustrate and anger all of us.

Look, it’s taken me years, over a decade really, to get to this point. I had a strangle-hold on life and I was miserable. Everything had to be perfect. Everyone had to do and say what I wanted. And all the while I was out of control on the inside. I thought that if I controlled external things then the internal mess would fix itself without me having to confront it.

Well, that was backwards. I had to forget about the external and concentrate on the internal. You know, what I could really control. And then I realized how overrated control is, because there is so much in this life we can’t control.

I thought control would bring me happiness, but now I know happiness is as overrated if not more so than control. Nope, stability is way more important – stability and contentment. Because once the need for the high of drama is gone then it’s not so important to control other people.

Long story short, life is too short and too precious to waste it agonizing over what and who we can’t control.


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