"There is no illusion greater than fear." -Lao Tzu
Last week we talked a little bit about control-based fear.
(Missed it? You can check it out here.)
As we continue to grow and become more self-aware, our fear, not wanting to fall behind and let us down, grows right along with us.
Often fear slides into our mind under the guise of productivity and busyness. Control, and its controlling cousins Type-A, perfectionism, and workaholism are some of fear's favorite buddies.
Control is an illusion fear clings on to for dear life.
So, what to do? After all, we want to control the situation ;).
5 Ways to Let Go of Control-Based Fear:
1. Awareness. Awareness might not sound sexy, but it’s the first step. Having the awareness that our need to control a situation is coming from fear allows us to see the situation as it is and release some of our need for control.
2. Dig. Play detective and do a little digging. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid will happen if I relinquish control? What pain am I protecting myself from?”
3. Compassion. Up the self-care ante as a way to show self-love and combat the root of control-based fear. When we can show ourselves love and care, we stop needing approval from the outside and can let go of the need for control.
4. Gratitude. We can be grateful to our fear. Yep, grateful to our fear.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but try telling fear how thankful you are that it’s looking out for you. After all, it’s coming from a place of self-protection.
Let it know you appreciate it having your back but that you’ve got it under control (so it can stop being so damn controlling!).
I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on this in Big Magic where she says to fear, “I recognize and respect that you are a part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still your suggestions will NEVER be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. DUDE, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But, above all my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
5. Surrender. This might be the toughest one for me. I like to ask myself, "What's the worst that can happen if I let go of control? What's the worst that can happen if I don't push myself out of fear?" Then, I go there. I really go there. Instead of pushing my fear down and ignoring it, I give it full attention and flesh it out.
Then, before it can run rampant, I use my fear-based need for control to plan for what I would do if the worst did happen. A worst-case-scenario plan. It gives my fear something to chew on. It satisfies my fear's need to protect me and exert control.
Once I know I have a plan, I can let go and surrender.
Where can you let go of your need for control?
Where can you stop pushing yourself so hard?
As you let go of your tight grip on life, you'll create more space and more room for growth. As I love to say, "surrender to the grey." There’s magic and spaciousness in the grey zone of life.