what do auto accidents, breaking up with a girlfriend/boyfriend, feelings of frustration, loss of a job, loss of a bet, dealing with a fire, depression, medical conditions, breaking and arm, spraining an ankle and the list goes on and on all have in common? at some level, they all to some degree represent a loss of control.
Though it happens far to often, losing control is never fun and often a challenge or a struggle. the thing is we do have a choice. let’s explore three possibilities:
1.Acceptance- recently, I worked on repairing a hole in a garden hose. after some struggle, i got the splice kit installed and did a pressure test. all looked good. while walking to turn off the water, i heard a distinct sound and turned to see a new leak had sprung just a foot from the previous repair. after some disgust and consternation, i remembered the hose was 20 years old and i could repair and repair the aging hose or just get a new hose. i surrendered to the fact that the current hose was a lost cause, accepted that and and took action, buying a new hose.
acceptance is likely the healthiest choice. it is an exploration of the loss of control, decide not much can be done about it, that the problem is too much outside of one’s control and plot a different course or action. minimal energy gets lost facing the loss of control in this case making it is easier to move forward with life.
2.gradual acceptance- imagine the last time you broke up with someone or parted ways with a friend. the first day you likely vacillated between the idea of a egging or burning the other person’s car. the pain felt intense. after a month, the hackles on the back of the neck would raise with the simple mention of their name. after a year, hearing that name likely generated some thought of better time.
with gradual acceptance, at first we can not find a way to get by the situation. we grip it with a bear hug. if someone mentions how tightly we are holding onto the situation, we deny it. as time goes on, the grip on the situation begins to loosen, perhaps to the level of a hug to a casual friend. finally, we free ourselves from the situation and hold it at an arms length.
as with acceptance, we reach a point where we see we have no control of the situation and plot a new course and take action. the timeline for gradual acceptance is infinite, anything from a few minutes to decades. in the end of gradual acceptance, we are able to move on.
3.don’t let go of the situation-the energy feels too great or the wall appears too high to scale what stands before you. sometimes that is perfectly okay. let’s say it’s breakup. be angry. be mad, curse their name. have a good cry. kick and shout. you’re in pain, go ahead and feel it. don’t be afraid of what’s going on. It all indicates the pain of loss. you had something and you aren’t in the mood to give that up. keep in mind, a expression of that pain is the start of a cleansing process. an important thing to remember is every not letting go of the situation can offer the starting place of a gradual acceptance.
a ride in a car shows what happens with a loss of control.
your riding along in a car. your mind drifts to an upcoming play, an upcoming trip, childhood memories, a conversation with a friend, romantic time with your special… and all of that in three seconds. sure, that’s not living in the moment, but it creates an overview of where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going, the big picture, then >>bam!<<
your mind shifts gear, am i injured? any else in the car? the other car? what about insurance? will we have to go to the hospital? will we need a tow? how will i get a rental? have the cops been called? are we blocking traffic?
in that moment, control gets lost. instead of energy being focused on the big picture, the energy gets focused on the accident, the loss of control. while the focus remains on the event it can be all encompassing. that will make it difficult to focus on the big picture. it is as if the big picture doesn’t exist.
without a view of the big picture, it becomes much easier to lose track of your life direction. that makes decisions confused and muddled. by working through the loss of control or making a conscience effort to return at least part of their focus to the big picture, life focus can begin to return and the loss of control loses its power.
i’ve been working on painting some kitchen cabinets. the paint selected by the owner ends up to be rather persnickety. without perfect brushing, the sheen will dry unevenly. when that happens, it means more work and more frustration. the frustration caused loss of control and a loss of focus on the big picture. with that, i snapped at Mary far to often.
the frustrations became my focus and i lost focus on my life. unless i can get by the frustration or return my focus to my big picture, the frustration will not only control the situation but will continue to pour out to all seemingly unrelated parts of my life.
loss of control can have an effect on not only a situation but life. that loss of control steals the focus from a big picture. in the face of loss of control, someone can make the effort to return at least some of the focus to their big picture, which will help to take away the focus from the lose of control. also someone can work through a process of acceptance which will also eventually take the focus from the loss of control event and return to the big picture.
do take a moment and explore what is in your big picture. what keeps you going? what brings you joy? what do you look forward to? how can you keep the focus on those things a opposed the happenings, the loss of control, that draw us away from our big picture?