“What we are in control of is what’s inside us. We can’t change someone else’s mind, but we can change our own in an instant. We can’t make someone love us, but we can always choose to be loving. Instead of attempting to control things outside ourselves, we can turn our attention to the bigger game, the Game of Love. John-Roger, DSS
One of the greatest fears we have is that of not being in control. There is a belief in the unconscious for many that we are safe only when we’re in control. Our ego strongly resists the idea of being powerless in a situation. Answers to the questions of “What if they leave me?” “What if I don’t matter?” “What if I fail?” “What if they die?” can be terrifying. So, we put our efforts into controlling a situation or person to match our expectations or the way we want it.
Examples of how we try to control:
- Impatience, anger, telling others what to do or how to behave.
- Helplessness, being a victim, manipulating others to do for us what is our own responsibility.
- Being overly responsible in a situation or relationship in order to control others’ opinion or mood.
- Obsessive, compulsive behavior and thoughts.
- Not letting go of situations in the past.
I dealt with this issue on a deeper level when I was a caregiver for my mother when she had Alzheimer’s disease. I realized that often at the root of my sense of helplessness, anxiety, and despair in situations with her was the fear of fully admitting to and experiencing powerlessness.
To really admit that I had no control over the course of this disease and how she was changing. Finally surrendering to my powerlessness to change this situation, I was surprised by what I discovered. There was a feeling on a deeper level that I wasn’t alone in this, there was something much greater than me at work here, and that I could let go of the struggle. I opened up to the awareness that my Soul was experiencing. During this time of insight that covered many situations in my life, I also recognized the difference between helplessness and powerlessness, at least by my definition. I started to really understand what the Serenity Prayer was saying. Even though Mom’s situation continued to deteriorate, I grew stronger.
- I am powerless to make others stay in my life when they are ready to leave. I have the power to move on and fulfill my own destiny.
- I am powerless to take away the pain of others. I have the power to trust they are protected while they go through it.
- I am powerless to make others love me. I have the power to love myself even more.
- I am powerless to make others approve of me. I have the power to follow what I know to be true for myself.
- I am powerless to change another’s behavior. I have the power to leave a situation that is not healthy for me.
- I am powerless to make others happy. I have the power to be responsible for my own happiness.
We are invited daily to give up the struggle of trying to control that which we can’t control. To surrender to the reality that, just because we are powerless in a situation doesn’t mean we have no power. Our greatest power lies in our ability to open to the loving that is present and know it is all for our learning and growth. To trust that we are being Divinely guided and protected. And, even when our ego resists, our heart can be open to the guidance that’s present, and be at peace.