Letting it be

A white background with wooden scrabble letters spelling "let it go"

My propensity to control everything around me sometimes makes it difficult for me to live my life unhindered and to its fullest.

If there is anything I'm highly self-aware of, it's this. I will forever remain at my most comfortable, feeling my most accomplished, when everything is within my control and I know what the outcome of my choices will be. This, unfortunately, leaves no room for error or spontaneity. I'm also discovering that my need to control has been dictating my social life.

I love meeting new people. I love having fun with a fun group in a chill social hang! But when I start to think about how I have no idea how the hangout will go, particularly with new people, I'm quick to back out. If I can't control what the outcome of my time with friends will be, I easily become anxious. I fear of being put into a situation I can't back out of, and it swiftly seeps into my ability to meet new people.

I've found that in a state of overwhelm, my need for control comes in several different forms-- I could become more harsh on myself with what and how much I eat because I can control my weight; I could work for hours and make several to-do lists because I can control my grades and sense of achievement; I might not speak to anyone for days to control and avoid feelings of rejection

After talking about this to someone, they said to me, "What would be so horrible about... just letting it be?" My body had an immediate physical reaction to those words. I didn't realise how adverse I was to the idea of allowing things around me stay beyond my control. If that isn't indicator enough of my mental wellbeing needing to be worked on, I don't know what is! 

I hadn't noticed how sneakily this control of mine inserted itself into my daily life. As far as I was aware, I was being disciplined about my studies, making healthy food choices and being wise about who I was friends with. But in reality, I was afraid of not being as successful as my friends, obsessed with everytihng I put in my mouth, and avoidant to any kind of socialising. It disguised itself as a normal, healthy habit that I didn't give much thought to. So, although I can't deny the passive benefits I might have reaped from this, I can't deny the negative effects it's had, too.

It can be hard to notice when certain mental habits become a wolf in sheep's clothing. At what point does our behaviour come from an unhealthy mindset? What do you think you could be controlling? Like me, could it be failure, rejection or appearances? What does your control disguise itself as, and what does it hold you back from?

Tagged in What messes with your head, perfectionism, success