Control and Certainty – Why do we want that so much?
As human beings we seem to crave control and certainty. We try to plan everything and seek to control life. We want certainty in our decision making. And then we get so disappointed when things don’t go as planned.
Anger sets in. Sadness. Despair. And we try to control that. We work so hard. Put so much energy into trying to have control and certainty. Why do we do it to ourselves? Is it because we simply crave safety and security?
But let me ask you. What can we really control? Is anything in life ever 100% certain?
That’s what I want to talk about today. Read on or listen here.
Tell me what’s going to happen!
I was listening to a podcast by Incandescent Tarot last month. Gina was talking about how people want certainty in their readings. How they give their power away to Tarot readers. Trying to use the cards to get 100% clarity when making decisions. And for the record – the Tarot can never do that for you but that is a topic for another day!
It got me thinking. Why do we feel the need for this total certainty?
Think about it – have you ever made a decision where you were 100% certain that it was the right one. No doubt whatsoever?
I’d say those times are very rare. Yes we may lean into our intuition and have a gut feeling. We can choose to follow that gut feeling and things turn out well. And we feel vindicated that we made “the right choice”.
But if you are totally honest with yourself, you weren’t 100% certain at the time of the decision that it was going to be OK. You had faith and trust, but not total certainty.
We make plans and the universe laughs!
And let’s turn to control. We often feel the need to control how things pan out. A decision is made and we then have an attachment to the outcome. We feel the need for things to go a certain way.
And then life throws us a curve ball. Things get messy. Our plans go out the window. And quite often that leads to stress and anxiety.
I’ll give you an example from my own life. A few months ago we were moving house but the completion dates didn’t quite line up. You may already have heard about this if you’ve been following me for a while.
So we moved out of rented accommodation and into a caravan for a couple of weeks. Our house purchase was due to complete 2 weeks later.
The best laid plans
We had known for a month or so that this temporary accommodation was needed. And I had so many plans! I was going to use the time to catch up on the reading I wanted to do. To create fabulous content for my courses and social media. And to walk on the beach, connect with nature and take 2 weeks of blissful peace while at the caravan.
I was actually looking forward to the break. And then the week before we had to leave our rental, my mum had a bad fall. She ended up in hospital and for the next 3 weeks I had to run to hospital everyday to visit her.
All my plans went astray. I had zero time to read. Very little time to create content and I was always on the run. The hospital was a 40 minute drive from the caravan so an hour’s visit turned into a 3 hour trek.
Not going to lie. It put a massive stress on me. And while moving into the new house I also then had to organise respite care for mum. A care package and while waiting for that, had to provide the care myself.
It was a rough few weeks. Any wonder I needed a break last month to process it all!
But my point is I had zero control over any of those events. I had to go with the flow. To trust medical professionals and social services with care plans. And to gently persuade my mum to accept the help.
When I tried to control how things were going to go, they inevitably went a different way. It was a massive lesson for me.
Think for a moment. And be totally honest. Do you feel the need to have control? To be in control of your life?
I think we all want to be control of our life and destiny – right? That is not necessarily a bad thing. To lean into our intuition and allow ourselves to follow our purpose. But that is a different thing from control.
Think about the amount of energy you put into trying to control outcomes. Do you make plans down to the finest detail and then get really upset when things change?
Surrendering to the Unknown
If I were to ask you to completely surrender control. To let go and lean into the “not knowing”. To step into the blissful state of simply letting go and resting in the unknown. How would that feel for you?
Let’s think about it this way. What do we actually control? We live on a spinning ball of rock hurtling through space. Circling a massive fire ball which in turn is circling a super massive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. We have absolutely no control over any of that.
We are passengers on this beautiful planet. Caretakers of it – and not doing a great job just now! But ultimately we have absolutely zero control when we think about it that way. We can’t stop an asteroid hitting us or a massive solar flare knocking out the grid.
Likewise we cannot possibly hope to control how other people think or behave. How many times have you tried and failed to get other people to think the same way you do? You can’t – because we all think differently.
What can we control?
You can only be in control of how you behave and respond to the situations you find yourself in.
As the philosopher Epictetus once said,
“It is not the things in life that stress us, it is how we respond to them”.Epictetus, Philosopher
And I couldn’t agree more. When we surrender control – and I don’t mean give up when I say surrender – I mean let go. It frees up energy. Energy that we can use to lean into our inner knowing and intuition.
It is liberating. We find a sense of joy and freedom in the unknown. In stepping into the flow of life. And riding the waves of emotion and feeling that come with each twist and turn of the wheel of life.
For me, the more I spend time meditating and being in nature, the more I feel this freedom. The more I can let go of the need to control how life pans out. Of course I still make plans – I am a human! And a woman with a need to pretend I am in control ha!
But ultimately – I recognise that the only thing I can be certain of is that I will pass on at some point and that each day before then I want to enjoy life. I choose to see the beauty and magic in life – even on the most difficult days. And I know that by surrendering control, I have flexibility and resilience to bounce back from whatever life throws my way.
Share your thoughts with me
Let me know how this week’s episode sits with you. You can connect with me via social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – @rocksnrituals. Please do leave a review on Spotify – it really helps other listeners find the show. And as always, thank you for listening and for your support.
If you have a question or a topic that you would like me to answer, please pop me through a DM or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next week!