“Our control and power are limited to our own thoughts.” –Marcus Aurelius
In the complex tapestry of human existence, the desire for control is a fundamental, driving force that shapes our choices, decisions, and emotions. We all seek to control various aspects of our lives, but the reality is that our power to wield control is limited.
The desire for control is deeply ingrained in our human nature. From an early age, we crave control over our immediate environment. As infants, we grasp for objects and attempt to manipulate them. As children, we yearn for autonomy, often seen in our insistence to tie our own shoelaces or make our own choices. This desire continues to evolve as we grow into adults, manifesting in our aspirations for career success, financial stability, and fulfilling relationships. But what drives this desire for control?
One of the key motivators behind our need for control is a desire for predictability, safety, and security. By having control over our circumstances, we feel a sense of mastery over our lives, reducing anxiety and uncertainty. It’s a psychological defense mechanism that allows us to cope with life’s unpredictabilities. We find solace in knowing that we can influence our destinies to a certain extent.
Despite our deeply rooted desire for control, it’s essential to acknowledge the inherent limitations in exercising it completely. We exist in a world of interconnectivity and complex systems, where many variables are beyond our reach. Recognizing these limitations is crucial for maintaining mental and emotional well-being.
Accepting these limitations doesn’t mean giving up on the desire for control altogether. It means shifting our focus toward aspects of our lives where we can exert influence effectively. Here are some areas where we have a degree of control:
Navigating the desire for control and the reality of its limitations is a delicate balancing act. Here are some strategies for developing a healthy relationship with control:
We can learn to control our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions which is actually a lot to manage!
In conclusion, the desire for control is a fundamental aspect of our humanity, but its boundaries are clearly defined by the intricate web of life’s complexities. To find balance and peace in the face of limited control, it’s essential to accept these boundaries and focus on what we can influence effectively. By developing a healthy relationship with control, we can navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience, making the most of the power we do possess.
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Lisa Cypers Kamen is a lifestyle management consultant who explores the art and science of happiness in her work as a speaker, author, and happiness expert. Through her globally syndicated positive psychology podcast, books, media appearances, and documentary film, Kamen has impacted millions of people around the world.
Our communications do not constitute mental health treatment nor is it indicative of a private therapeutic relationship.
Individuals seeking help for trauma related issues or other psychological concerns should seek out a mental health professional.
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