I know a couple that is obsessed with a family situation that is going on around them. They cannot help but bring it up in every conversation and email. It continues to litter their thoughts and feelings, and as a result, they are imprisoned by worry, fear, and fury. What bothers me most about it is that they disguise their obsession to control people by saying it’s all about caring. Although they do care about the players, what they are really upset about is that the people involved won’t do what they want them to, and they can’t understand why.
A Prison of Your Own Making
I was discussing it with a friend the other day, and I got angry. Then it dawned on me. My irritation with them is no different than their obsession with these family members. None of us are operating from a place of caring; it is all about control.
I want them to stop telling people what to do and mind their own business. Of course, it’s not my place to suggest that or even think it. I do know they would feel much better if they let it go, but that’s not where my head is.
When we hold a situation or person in our thoughts negatively like that and struggle to control them, we are imprisoning ourselves in a cage. We create it, we hold ourselves there, and until we can let the situation go entirely, we suffer. The object of our obsession however, isn’t suffering at all. They have no idea what we are thinking and feeling.
If You Can’t Control It – Let it Go
A recent meditation I completed suggested stopping to think about each situation that bothers you. “Can I control it?” You first ask yourself that question. If not, then perhaps it would serve you better to let it go. Otherwise, you end up the one not sleeping, not eating, worrying and getting into arguments. If you are carrying around frustration or irritation at someone else’s behavior, stop for a minute and think about it. Is it really worth your peace of mind to keep holding onto it?
You can never control another human being. If you believe that caring equals trying to control someone, then you will continue to suffer. The person you are obsessing over will go along with their life, making the decisions they want and not thinking about you one bit. Therefore does it really make sense to keep trying to control them and getting upset when it doesn’t work? Don’t kid yourself caring is not about control.
I see this a lot in my own life too. I recently fired my realtor, but before I did, I spent a couple of weeks obsessing over the way she “should” handle things. Of course, she had no idea that I was upset and just went along behaving how she normally does. Once I decided to switch realtors and let my frustration with her go, I felt like I had shed a 100-pound weight. Again, I was the only one suffering; she wasn’t. It felt great to let it go instead of holding onto my resentment and anger.
I am often on the receiving end of venting from friends and family. So many people are upset with another person’s behavior. They can’t do anything about it, and I guarantee that the other person isn’t sitting around obsessing about them.
It only hurts you when you let others get into your head. Letting go is like unlocking your jail cell and setting yourself free. You can walk away. That other person will continue to do what they want, say what they like and act however they wish. You, however, don’t have to worry about it anymore. What freedom!
Letting Go More in 2019
For 2019, let’s practice doing more of that. Let go of control. Does it really matter in this moment? Is anything in the past (even five minutes ago) worth caring around or getting yourself upset over? Probably not, so instead let’s refocus on us, and what we want and how we want to be for the new year.