Why Giving Up Control Can Help Your Relationship and Your Life
As a relationship specialist I was working recently with a couple where one of the pair (“the client”) was in misery. The client anguished because this individual thought their partner was talking with another person outside the relationship. This worry was very real and took up an enormous amount of time for the client. Although there was no sexual relationship the client kept ruminating with the following thoughts about their mate. “What if the partner was interested in another? What would happen to the relationship?” These types of questions played out in this person’s mind. The more the client thoughts about it, the worse the client felt.
This situation continued for weeks; the worry, the anguish, the concern. Then during a recent session I noticed something new. The anguish was gone. There was no more worry from the client. There was a greater sense of calm.
How did this happen? The client stated they just decided they could not control what the partner did and so they gave up trying to control it. Yeah, it was that simple, and that profound. This client realized that their worries could not accomplish anything even though they had spent countless hours trying to effect some change. This client decided that they would not continue to try and alter or control what their partner was doing. This client decided to just accept what they could do and accept what their partner was going to do.
This takes courage and self control. This takes facing something that might not be to our liking and just accepting that we will be OK no matter what, even if we don’t want such a thing to occur. This is a brave stance, and I don’t see it a lot during therapy. I was surprised and grateful.
I was surprised, because the action was so evolved, grateful because the client was no longer suffering. The client let go of trying to control the outcome, or what the partner was doing, or what might happen. The client let go of trying to do anything. The client just allowed what was going to happen to just happen. And in doing so they were now calmer, the stress was reduced and they were more attentive and present.
I often talk a lot about being present. Taking life in as it comes, allowing it to unfold; the good and the bad. Once we have self confidence and are grounded we know that what ever life throws at us will not be enough to knock us off the rails. What we learn is to trust in ourselves. We stay connected to the knowledge that we will be OK.
This is true freedom. This allows for real happiness. We can’t ever be in charge of the outcome. When we realize this we might be able to find a way to just be grateful for what we have, and to be confident that when difficulty arises we just may know what to do. And somehow that seems to be just enough.
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