What Happens When You Learn to Let Go?
As most of you know by now, the pursuit of perfection was once the force that drove everything I did. I was an ardent t-crosser, an every-i-dotter, an if-everything-isn’t-exactly-how-it’s-supposed-to-be-I-can’t-sleep kind of person. I needed to be in control…of everything, including the things I couldn’t control. Does this sound like you or someone you know?
For me, it reflected most in my obsession with weight and food. I studied health all my life, tried every diet, and pored over every book out there in search of the “right” way to feed my body. I followed a long, complex list of dietary rules, and worked tirelessly to implement them in my day-to-day routine. I assumed that by following every piece of advice I thought was relevant to me, I would concoct the perfect way to nourish myself.
As you might imagine... that never actually happened.
Exhaustion eventually caught up with me, forcing me to take a step back and relax a little bit. I loosened my grip on the rules, and relinquished my need to control it all. I got out of my own way.
And when I did that, everything changed. I learned to tap into my own intuition and trust my instincts. Nourishing myself through proper nutrition and plenty of self-care became simple once I started to listen to my body. I felt more energized and alive than ever.
I set myself free.
Life is like that. If you try too hard to engineer an outcome, it will almost always short-circuit and sputter in your hands. But when you detach from your vision for the result, the universe has room to pull the pieces together on its own, in an even more gorgeous pattern than you might ever expect.
I’m going through some chaos in my life right now - it’s been one thing after another. My husband was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease. Our beloved pooch, Willow, has cancer. I just got back from an unexpected trip to California to visit my dad who was hospitalized with pneumonia…I won’t bore you with the details, but needless to say, things are feeling pretty unsettled.
When life gets like this, it’s like traveling back in time to my old perfectionist self.
My craving for control cranks up about 1000%, as I’m sure yours does too in similar situations. It makes sense…the more helpless we feel, the stronger our need to put ourselves in the driver’s seat becomes. So we start to over-think, over-analyze, and stress about the tiniest details.... and slowly but surely, that awful feeling of overwhelm creeps in again.
The hard-to-face truth is that sometimes you can’t “control” what is happening, but what you can control are your reactions to the events going on around you.
So I’m re-learning to release my need to constantly call the shots. I’m breaking each challenge down into bite size pieces, and doing everything I can to put my best foot forward. Whether it is supporting my husband and my dad through their recoveries with a positive attitude, nourishing food and healing energy or focusing on giving my sick puppy the best quality of life possible while we’re still lucky enough to have her, I’m placing my trust in the process. And I’m reminding myself that stress (exacerbated by the need to control) is counterproductive.
I’m learning. I’m letting go.
The bottom line is this:
Instead of trying to “be in control” of every detail of your life to suit your ideal vision for the future, have a little trust and faith that when you do your best, the universe tends to unfold as it should.
Life will always be a rollercoaster filled with ups and downs. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, lift our arms to the skies, and let it ride.
Question of the day: what have you released lately? Share your comments & insights below.