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June 12, 2020

Stop Trying To Control It All

How many times have you said or thought the words “Just let me do it”?

One of the most challenging things for a strong woman who strives to have things a certain way in her life is that she’s also often a control freak. That’s not a clinical diagnosis and I don’t really like the word freak added to the word control.

Maybe we should come up with a different word like control boss or control addict even. I’ll take the word tyrant- fascist occasionally- but not a freak. Do we really need to call anyone a freak just because they want to control everything and everyone in their world?

Recovering control freak

I know myself and I own it. Sometimes I say I’m a recovering control freak. I am also a recovering superwoman. I know that my tendency is to feel much more secure when I’m controlling the ship. It’s my nature. And it’s not always in my best interest. It’s not always God’s plan for me, and I can go way off into the deep end and start sinking and drowning before I’m going to be like “Okay, God. I messed up. I can’t do this. Can you help me now?” All of that isn’t necessary and that’s why I am sharing this with you today. Good woman, release your grip  Stop trying to muscle it.

Do you know why I have this blogt? It’s because I am called to encourage and strengthen women. I have wisdom gained through life and my deepest desire is to impart it on you so that you can gain your own wisdom in the easiest way possible.

Wisdom is gained in two ways: making all the mistakes or learning from other’s mistakes. You can’t always gain it the easy way. You’re going to make your own mistakes, that’s a given. But if you can maximize learning from others as well, you will be so much further!

Why do we want to have control?

So back to control. First, we need to understand why we do it in the first place. We women are socialized to believe that we are the only ones that can do certain things. We grow up watching the men in our life not do the things and we make up the story in our minds that men don’t do the things because they can’t. Or maybe we just watch our mother doing it and assume that we need to follow suit. And so we operate on this subconscious, sometimes even conscious belief that the people in our lives are not really capable. We feel we do things better.

And here’s the kicker, because we do things more often, this actually becomes true. We create a self-fulfilling prophecy. We ask for herp,  they screw it up. We are disappointed. We confirm for ourselves that we have to do it and we get right back to controlling everything, feeling more justifiably entrenched in this behavior.

German Hartley points out that when women say “just let me do it”, what they are really saying is “I don’t want to be let down again”. Because we can all think of a time when our partners let us down. But women, what is the price of our control? It breaks the bank, let me tell you that! And it creates the very thing you are trying to avoid- STRESS!

How to slowly let go of control

So, because your controlling nature wasn’t created overnight. Because this is deeply ingrained and you have atrophied the muscles of those around you, you have to start letting go of the control in small ways, building up to bigger ways.

First, figure out what’s driving your need to control. Is it fear, shame, a need to be needed, or seen as someone who can do it all? It’s usually fear, so you have to ask yourself what you are afraid will happen if you stop the controlling behavior.

The second step is to challenge your fear-based belief. Is it really true? I have to remind myself that my husband lived on this earth for over 40 years before I showed up in his life, and somehow he managed to take care of his business and his home. I also have to remind him, because I think he forgets sometimes. I also have to remind myself that I am raising capable children and I want to continue doing that.  My belief that I have to take care of it all does not serve them in their lives.

Then, remember it takes time to learn how to be as fabulous as you are at getting stuff done. Teaching your people to fish may feel like a waste of time, but it is well worth the investment in time and energy recouped later.

The next step is to do the opposite. If your fear base, controlling behavior isn’t working, then do the opposite. And remind yourself that done is better than done your way.

Last, replace control with faith. The need to control is just a construct in your brain. Your need to control is piloted by words you tell yourself about the capabilities of those around us. They are lies. And your brain believes them. But guess what else your brain believes? Any darn thing you tell it! So speak faith into your situation. Faith about your people, faith in yourself, faith in your God. Ultimately you will begin to experience what you tell your brain you want. 

You’ve got this!

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