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Do you feel in control of your life?

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  • #89953
    jock
    Participant

    I do to some extent but I wish I had more control. I wish I could find a suitable job for my time of life. (late fiftees)
    A Christian might say let God take control of your life and I would respect that opinion for someone who had an intense prayer life. Our ego is not a reliable source of wisdom and often leads us into dead-ends. I don’t trust my ego much anymore.
    A Buddhist might say control is an illusion. The more we try to control our lives, the more rigid we become instead of letting the universe speak to us. Not be slaves to our own thoughts.
    Control has such negative connotations these days. Not to be used by the politically correct. “Control” might imply aggression, force, even violence. But the rerality is most of us would like to be in control of our lives and sometimes even control/influence others’ lives.

    #89968
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jack:

    We all HAVE TO have a sense of control over our lives. If we have no control we would be way,way more messed up than we already are. This homeless man used to come to this coffee shop I was in, every day. He would come with a big white trash can, sit at a table and take out his own mug, his own sugar container and this and that and place everything neatly on the table, in a particular order, making sure all is set just right. Then he would take a piece of paper and make neat lists. He needs order, he needs to affect order in his life. We all do. Even Buddhists do.

    anita

    #89981
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Jack,

    There are times in which I do feel like I am in control of my life. However, during much of it I don’t. The reason being that no matter how hard we might try to take control or plan things down in detail, they don’t always happen that way. We can plan our life down to the most finite detail, and be in control of our life by the choices we make, but that is not enough. There are so many things that could change in the blink of an eye,and also, it is not just our choices that affect us, but those others as well, even strangers. I do try to have as much control over my life as possible, because that’s the way I like it. I like structure, routines, dependability but life is sometimes unpredictable and I find myself unable to control the course of my life at times.

    I grew up in a strict Catholic household and my grandmother would make me pray, read the Bible, and go to church with her almost everyday. While I am no longer religious, I do believe in God, and I do to some extent believe that some things are out of my control. However, I don’t believe that everything is out of my control, or that I should let God guide me and take control over every aspect of my life, that would then leave us all lying around waiting for things to happen to us, rather than us taking action.

    I am still young, and don’t know where life will take me, or what I will do with my life. It scares me that I have no idea and can’t make up my mind. There are very few things that any of us can truly control because it is all connected in a way and everything is subject to change. For example, I can do my best to strictly only shop at one grocery store, but what if they stop carrying the product or are out of stock, it’s out of my control, however, what is in my control is how I react to it, whether picking it’s equivalent or going to another store. Similarly, I could try to be the best driver by always obeying traffic lights, having a safe distance from the car in front of me, using turn signals, etc. Yet it is out of my control if another driver if another driver is drunk and crashes into me, or if someone speeding rear ends me.

    No matter how cautious we are, or how much we try to exert control over our life’s, there will always be uncertainty because we can’t change everything. The only thing that we can control is how we react to what happens to us, and what we make of it. And while that might not seem like much, it’s certainly something.

    You’re right, control does seem to carry a negative connotation nowadays, but we all to some extent want to shape our life’s. No one wants to be poor, ill, homeless, depressed, etc, but there are forces beyond ourselves that influence what happens to us.

    #89987
    jock
    Participant

    No one wants to be poor, ill, homeless, depressed, etc, but there are forces beyond ourselves that influence what happens to us.

    I definitely agree. There are forces beyond us. I’m trying to align myself with the positive forces out there. The negative, dark forces within and without, are the ones we have to confront or avoid because they can take us down the wrong road.

    #89994
    Sunfl0wer
    Participant

    It feels like things are moving, I can influence them, but not exactly control them. Maybe like trying to control a river. You can build a pile of rocks to influence the flow of things, yet the river still flows or doesn’t and rises and lowers and those aspects we do not influence so much.

    Somethings I feel I ‘should’ have more control of but struggle and find myself frustrated. I wonder if letting go of wanting to control it in the first place will allow me to have a greater influence?

    I wonder if I create some more habits, such as Anita describes, will I have a greater sense of security?

    #90011
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear Sunflower: I agree with your suggestion that trying to let go of (all) control will be counter productive. We can’t help but needing a sense of control. It is undeniable and can not be negotiated with, the basic need for control. We can decide how much control is useful to us and what kinds of control harms us. But some control- we must have.

    anita

    #90016
    Sunfl0wer
    Participant

    Anita, so do you know how to get the most helpful amount of control without the burden of becoming controlling?

    Maybe it has to do with ego…I am not sure.

    #90022
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear SunflOwer:

    To try to answer your question I looked at the only thread i believe you started here from Feb 2015, about the five year relationship then with a man controlled by his ex, an ex who controlled him and by extension, you. I wonder if that relationship is over? To your question then, to get the most helpful amount of control without being ABUSIVE, is the question, without harming oneself and/ or another?

    I would need specifics, of a particular situation if you have one.

    Routines, though are quite harmless that that is one way of controlling, healthy routines, that is, so you are controlling your time effectively.
    anita

    #90036
    jock
    Participant

    I know I am becoming a slave to routines as I get older, and annoyed if they are interrupted. OCD you may as well say. I think OCD is a way of feeling in control, when really the habit or routine is controlling us.
    Then you meet people who like to control others. Their ego says” My immediate environment must be under my control, otherwise I feel too anxious.”
    We call them control freaks but I know I have some subtle symptoms that would also classify me as a control freak. Noisy loud people for instance. I want them to shut up. I can’t tolerate them anymore. 🙂

    #90038
    Sunfl0wer
    Participant

    I hope I can answer in a way that helps the thread vs hijacking it…

    Yes, that relationship has been over since that post. I am learning to be grateful of this.

    I am not so concerned about control in terms of another and abuse atm.

    I often get sidetracked, lose focus, or direct my energies away from necessary things that need doing. This can then feel ‘out of control’ of myself as important things do not get done.

    I was thinking of control in terms of self control and balancing that. For me, the act of trying for too much self control can lead to feeling out of control as I may want to rebel from myself. Yet, when I create positive habits, the struggle for control seems to not be a struggle to rebel from or judge how I am doing.

    I am not certain I am explaining this well.

    #90039
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jack:

    Noisy, loud people- I share your sentiment. I like routine. And did you know, Jack, I had full blown OCD, performing rituals until I was thirty or so. still have inclinations. But yes, OCD rituals was ways to CONTROL what I feared. As close to religion as you can get, rituals that is. I suppose religion with its rituals has a similar function.

    But I digress.

    Good to know you are here, Jack, almost 10 am your time. Good morning!
    anita

    #90118
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Jack,

    You are right,”The negative, dark forces within and without, are the ones we have to confront or avoid because they can take us down the wrong road.” I believe that the dark forces within ourselves are the ones that need the most avoidance/confrontation because we are our own worst critics. We have the power to belittle and destroy ourselves in ways no one else can, mentally. We can be our own worst enemy/nightmare.

    Also, in regards to noisy loud people, I’ve never been able to stand them, it’s too much for me. I understand they must be excited, riled up, angry, etc but there is no need to bother everyone else with your noise. We don’t need to hear their conversations from more than a few feet away. And if the conversation is directed at me, well, no need to be so loud, I’m standing right there.

    Ahh, routines. Regardless of how much I like to think that I don’t have a routine, I do. Several actually, for different parts of my day, and I get anxious if things don’t go as usual. It throws me off and has me thinking I’ll have a bad day, or that something bad is going to happen, I don’t know why I think that way, I just do.

    And as for being control freaks, well to some extent, everyone is, just in different aspects of life. For some it’s their car, their chores, schedules, etc.

    #90120
    jock
    Participant

    thanks for your thoughtful posts, Aislynn

    I remember one guy at a workplace who was teaching me the job was advising me: “you must be in control, you can’t let the customer control you. You can’t show any weakness. if they see a weakness, you’re dead! You must act totally confident!” This was my first day and I’m thinking to myself” I don’t think I’m suited to this. the customer is going to see straight through me.”

    #90129
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear Sunflower:

    I posted above at the same time you did last and didn’t see your post until now. You wrote: “I often get sidetracked, lose focus, or direct my energies away from necessary things that need doing. This can then feel ‘out of control’ of myself as important things do not get done.I was thinking of control in terms of self control and balancing that. For me, the act of trying for too much self control can lead to feeling out of control as I may want to rebel from myself. Yet, when I create positive habits, the struggle for control seems to not be a struggle to rebel from or judge how I am doing.”

    I think what you are describing is doing too much in efforts to calm fear, or needing to do too much or beating yourself up for not doing enough, all in efforts to be calm. As in: I can’t be calm now unless and until I do this and that and then that too. So you pressure yourself, put undo, too much, and ineffective pressure on yourself, pressure that works against you, is that correct?

    Dear Jack:

    About your workplace example, what if you display confidence about your lack of it, that is what if you were comfortable about being uncomfortable, accept it and not be scared of it? What if you were “a high strung hyena” who is comfortable with being just that, a high strung hyena, so to speak…?

    anita

    #90134
    Mark
    Participant

    Hey all, I’m brand new to Tiny Buddha.

    I’d argue that, although control can be considered an illusion, we actually do have control of our lives. We don’t need to turn our lives over to a higher power to get there either. I’d suggest that the moment we begin to pursue a worthwhile goal (one we’re passionate about), is the moment we take control of our lives. Within that pursuit or journey is where happiness lives and it’s the place where we have control.

    Sure, we’re faced with things out on that scary road, but those things are all just tests. They are just testing how badly we want that thing we’re after…whether it’s a relationship, money, freedom, enlightenment, or whatever else. We are always in control of whether we retreat, or if we take the next step, and then the next…as we strive for our goal.

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