I’m learning that I feel a very powerful urge to control every aspect of my life. I know it seems silly that I never realized this, but I really didn’t. I thought most of my issues were just plain old anxiety or stress, which it was, but it all stems from the need for control.
The thing I try to control the most? Other people’s happiness. I realized that I’ve been doing that ever since I can remember. Trying to keep my 5-year-old sister happy through our parents’ ugly divorce and subsequent hideous interactions with each other throughout the years. Making sure my Mom was happy with her new life. Making sure my Dad wasn’t going to go off the deep end. Making sure my husband is happy. Making sure my kids are happy. It goes on and on and on. And I didn’t even realize I was doing it and I certainly didn’t realize how it was affecting…my happiness. Because guess what? I have no control over other people’s happiness.
I was talking to my therapist (who is ah-may-zing by the way) about one of my biggest fears that keeps me up at night: Matt and I will die, Olivia will be left alone in a horrible nursing home, not understanding what has happened or why I’m not there for her, crying all day long and miserable. Now, I know that this is irrational and very unlikely to happen but it still is a major worry for me. My therapist looked and me and said “You’re trying to control things from the grave!” And I laughed. Because it was true but I didn’t realize it. I have no control over when I die or what will happen after. I can put things in place to ensure she’s taken care of, and of course she’ll be loved, but I have no control.
It’s been liberating for me to realize that this is the source of my unease. I need to stop controlling every little thing. It’s pointless. Just like worrying. It’s pointless and yet I spend most of my time engaging in it. As most of you know, it’s super difficult to quit trying to control your life and maybe even more impossible to quit worrying. But I’m sure as hell going to try. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders just to know where all of my issues stem from.
The hardest part about this whole process is learning to just be in the moment. If you live in the moment, there are no worries, there is no need to control, there is nothing but what is happening right now. Right now, my daughter is loved beyond belief; she’s happy as can be; she’s amazing. Right now, my kids are loved and they know it. Right now, my husband and I are more in love than ever. Right now, we have a roof over our heads, food on the table and jobs. Right now, we are healthy. Right now is all that matters.
Right now is bliss.