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From Control Freak to Having Self-Control

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From Control Freak to Having Self-Control

From Control Freak to Having Self-Control. An Image of a stormy cloud under a sunset orage cloud.
I’m a control freak. I also geek out over self-awareness. Sometimes these two forces work together, and sometimes these forces seem opposed. I suspect the reality is dependent upon how I choose to look at it, or the meaning I put on it.  For instance, I started this essay to talk about being a control freak. However, after a mere two sentences, my sense of self-approval (I suspect from hearing myself dictate this) took over my brain process, and now I want to give a lecture on self-awareness. To create some peace in me, I will try to use these two forces together.

Waking Up and Self-Discipline and Self-Reflection.

During the past 11 years, every morning, when I wake up, I check in with my brain and my body to see what mood I’m in. Do I feel like being creative today? Do I feel more logical today? Do I need to give my deep brain some space to process? And sometimes, can I even discern in what mood I feel? Most days, I know immediately in what mood is my body and brain. Some days, however, I do not.
One of my primary goals for my whole adult life is to be productive each day. I have learned to pay attention to the moods of my body and brain so I can accomplish that primary goal. I’ve also learned that I tend to have three main attitudes that I wake up in: creative, logical, and processing. Instead of trying to force me into being creative on logical days or logical on creative days, or either on processing days, I try to work with my moods instead of against them. That way, I am the most productive I can be for that day. I generally form an intention for three mood-based activities. That way, I can be productive no matter which mood my brain and body wake up feeling. Interestingly, during my meditation reflection this morning, I noticed that I might be cheating myself of some purpose and meaning in my life through this intention. Allow me to explain.

Emotionally Reactive Intention


First, here is a little background on how I got to this mindset. I have always experienced an emotional roller coaster in my brain and body. If I felt it, I did it. If I didn’t feel it, I didn’t do it. It was simple, emotionally reactive, living no differently than anyone else. Then, a few years ago, I noticed I experience three main mood patterns, creative, logical, and processing. So I adapted my days to accommodate that observation. That is the background.

I have consistently been fascinated with the human ability to put meaning on things and then react to the meaning instead of reality. I also, like most other people, want to feel purpose in my life. Finally, also like many people, if I see someone looking as if they are living their purpose, I feel a pang of jealously accompanied by questions like, “Why can’t I feel that way all the time?”  Ironically, these thoughts put me in a no-win situation.  No one ever feels that way all the time, and I am judging myself for not feeling that way all the time.

Back when I was a twenty-something, I watched a show about a man who tied by hand flies for fishing for a living. Painstakingly, every day, he tied several flies to sell. To me, it looked so dull it hurt to watch. The show’s host interviewed him. He talked about doing tying flies for thirty years, and he was still learning how to do it better. I felt amazed.

Then the interviewer asked him, was there any time when he didn’t enjoy his work. Did he ever feel like doing something else? The man went still for a moment. He appeared to be thinking. Then he quietly said, there are many days that he doesn’t like tying flies. The interviewer looked incredulous and asked, “Then why do you tie flies? Why don’t you find another more enjoyable job?” The man smiled. He paused again before he replied. Then he quietly asked, “How would I get better at tying flies then?”

I have a better understanding of the man’s attitude now.

The interviewer appeared to be asking, why don’t you be emotionally reactive? The man appeared to reply that, for him, there is something better than chasing after feeling good all the time. There is doing what you want, even when it doesn’t feel good. He wanted to get better at tying flies.

I am beginning to understand that man had a deeper understanding of what gave his life meaning.

In my meditation this morning, I realized that the three intentions I set each day were partially emotionally reactive tools to adapt to my mood. My insight was, while I was making sure I followed a deeper primary goal--always be productive—I was also possibly sacrificing some of my, even deeper yet, goals about creating meaning in my life.

Reframing My Dreams and Goals: From Control Freak to Having Self-Control

 
  • I want to build meaning in my life by being artistically creative.
  • I want to end each day, feeling like I was productive.
  • I want to work with my moods to accomplish the above goals.
If we are aware of our dreams and goals, we gain power in our life to enact the actions necessary to accomplish our values.
I have practiced awareness, mindfulness, self-realization religiously for eleven years. I still have a lot to learn.

I have found that when it feels like the Universe is conspiring against me, it’s me that is the problem. More specifically, it’s my view of reality. What meaning am I putting on situations and actions? What do I expect? In those questions, there lie insights into my mind. There is a part of me that is a control freak. When the world doesn’t go my way, which is frequently, that part of me fights against the world. Yet, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the world isn’t going to change. Instead, I have to change my expectations, my perspective, the meaning I put on things. I can fight the Universe, or I can work with it. Yes, I have to adjust. Yes, I have to adapt. I generally don’t like to change. Interestingly though, when I modify my perceived needs into self-meaningful wants, I have found the Universe usually meets me halfway.

I believe I am not in this life alone. I don’t know how to define the Ultimate Reality. I only know from my experience that that divine nature seems to arrange life to push me towards my deepest values and dreams if I listen. And therein lies the challenge. I have to stay open to opportunities that don’t look like my expectations or assumptions. Accomplishing this openness day-to-day is not easy. I have to work at it. It is so worth it, though.

When I reframe my thoughts, emotions, and actions to match my dreams, I find that there are many ways I can move forward without so many negative feelings. My life becomes more relaxed, my path becomes more evident, and my fulfillment increases. I have to be vulnerable and willing to let go of my control nature. Yet, in that letting go, ironically, I gain control over myself. I move from being a control freak to having some self-control. I’ve found that what I let go of is emotional reactivity. This transformation is not intuitive, and it can feel scary. Contrast that though with the suffering I do when I fight the Universe, and I realize once again that I have a lot still to learn.

What have you learned about controlling life versus controlling yourself? Please write to me here and share it with me.

With wishes of Peace for you,
Blair's Handwritten Name
Aug 11, 2020
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Blair Ashby
Teaching and Coaching
Self-Compassion
720-789-4000
I will not transfer or sell your data to anyone.
Please read the full disclosure here.

©2022 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
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