So much of my self-berating and self-abuse comes from an underlying belief that I had control over outcomes or processes, when maybe I didn’t.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have agency.
Agency is different from control.
Agency means I have choice in how to respond. I can choose my path.
Control means I can dictate or preordain the outcome, or even the process. Control is an illusion.
I have some agency in choosing the path, but I can’t control what happens on the journey.
When unexpected traffic arises, I can choose how to respond to it, but only if I’ve build the muscle to develop the skills that give me agency.
Otherwise I am in reaction. In reaction I have neither control nor agency; I am a victim of my impulses and anger.
In reaction I judge, berate, and blame my self or others. I am stuck. There’s no way out.
Reaction is essentially a loss of control. In reaction, I am at the mercy of my unconscious and conscious fears and my limbic system.
That’s the irony: The more we try to control life around us, the more frustrated we will be when we bump up against all the ways we are not in control. We end up in reaction, which removes our agency.
Ironically the way to have more choice seems to be to give up control.
I’ve experienced many moments of synchronicity: people and events lining up when I needed them.
I couldn’t see the path ahead, but I was open. I trusted. And with each step I took into unknown terrain, the ground rose to meet me.
In my best moments I remember that this is what’s possible, and I soften. The contraction eases and I can breathe.
I’ve mostly been practicing these skills in private. My invitation now is to practice them in public.
I cannot control how people see me, how they interpret my words, what they take from my message, or if they take anything at all.
No matter how careful I am in constructing my offerings and my messaging, no matter how measured I am with my words, there will be people who misunderstand, who don’t get it, who don’t want to hear it, or who simply don’t like it.
Instead of worrying about it or trying to control it, I can reclaim my agency to move forward without trying to control anything or anyone.
dare to relinquish
the illusion of control