The Perception of Control

Our lives are turned around by current events and when we take the time to reflect on it all after weeks in..what part of all of this were we in control of?

Taking corners sideways.

If you are like me, a rainy road and a few twists and turns are ideal for a bit of sideways driving. If you aren't like me, the notion of not being able to steer your car might give you a lump in your throat. Despite what side on the spectrum you might be, I've found that giving up control might be the best thing for us during this time.

I understand being able to simply 'give-up' control depends on various factors such as locus of control, life experience and upbringing, Whichever way you look at it though...gripping a rope on the way down is never a smart idea.

Control (n), according to Merriam Webster dictionary, is the power or authority to guide or manage. I liked this definition, because it seems that if you feel you are in control, you seem pretty legit. I myself will be very afraid of you if are in control. But, when you break up the words that define control and truly understand what they imply about control, we might have a different conversation all together. It's not that I'm trying to be rude, but there are very few, if any, people out there who have enough power and authority to guide or manage a invisible virus. If no one has control can stop trying to atain it.

What do we have then, if not control?

You have control. Wait, what? I just said we don't, and now we do? Yes. I love this little back and forth on control, but let me explain.

We sometimes think more is better…and that is true for when it comes to chocolate cake or coffee…but not for control. Victor Frankl, the amazing author of Man’s Search for Meaning mentioned various accounts where the captive Jews tried to control their circumstances in World War 2. Needless to say, the ones who tried to manipulate and control, were not necessarily left alive to tell the stories.

What Frankl picked up and noticed was, that those who gave up trying to control their circumstances but instead controlled their reaction to it, lived much better lives...even in the concentration camps. This is what we control then: how we handle things.

How to control your reaction to things.

Counting to ten works...but you look silly in public. The key to control doesn't lie in higher fences or cutting back on expenses. I'm not discounting real issues with finances or security at all. I'm just trying to get the concept home of giving up control in exchange for a deeper freedom.

No matter where you are or who you pray to, the only way to gain control over your thoughts is to give time to meditation and prayer. In the sacred times we find a next level of peace and perspective. Just try it, start with 10 minutes each day and see the life changing effects of what a sound mind can bring in this time.

"You don't know my story."

This following dialogue is an account by Frankl when he asked a senior in Auschwitz where the other Jews were being taken:

''You see that chimney over there? The man asked me.

'That's where your friends are...floating up to heaven in a cloud of smoke.'

Our current times are hard, and it might seem ideal to try and manipulate aspects of our lives in order to get a hold of what is happening. We might even grip tighter and tell people they have no idea what we are going through. If Frankl and countless others can get out of circumstances like the above...we can get out of the trials and challenges we are facing now.. We just need to shift our minds.

The dangers of gripping tighter to external things, is that once we realize there is no such thing as true and authentic control, we might even be worse off than before.

Let go of the rope.



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