There are moments when we tend to allow others to dictate our lives. This person that has so much control over you may be a significant person in your life; your parent, sibling, friend, employer, spouse, etc. It’s easy to give up control to a trusted person because we trick ourselves into telling us that they have our best interests, so it must okay to put our all into them. The problem is when we start to think like this, we begin to put ourselves down to pick them up. This has a significant impact on our mental health, which can lead to feelings of unworthiness, lack of confidence, stress, anxiety, depression, etc.
So, how do you know that you’ve relinquished too much control? Maybe you’ve started to do something but hesitated because someone you care about wouldn’t agree with it. For example, you may decide that you want to venture out and explore something new. You may hesitate because you were always told by a particular person(s) that you can never do anything right and will likely not succeed at anything. Perhaps you were told that you are a poor communicator so you hold back your true feeling out of fear of saying the wrong thing. As we put our feelings aside to cater to others, we experience insecurities that may show up in different forms. You may lash out in anger, have crying spells, feel panicked around new people or in new environments, etc. Losing control over you thoughts, feelings, and emotions can create feelings of discomfort; however, you can regain control over your life!
Admittedly, it’s not easy to regain control on your own, most especially if you never established boundaries with others. The good thing is that with practice, you can learn how to regain control and improve your mental wellness. To understand how to regain control, I’ll use the following example:
Imagine that your body is your home. When you think about your home, the expectation is that it’s your safety net. All of the doors and windows are locked, it’s tidy to your liking, and it’s peaceful. You do not allow any one to visit without extending an invitation or without your permission. At this moment, you are in control! You have healthy boundaries established in all aspects of your life (work, relationship, friendships, etc.). You’re able to verbalize when you feel upset or uncomfortable with someone, you are not the person who agrees to do things that you do not want to do, you practice self-care on a regular basis, and you’re at peace because you do not require the validation of anyone! The only person who had the key to your home is you.
Now, imagine that you are not in control of yourself. You have no clear boundaries established in your personal and work environments. You feel anxious at the thought of having to stand up for yourself, you doubt yourself and worry about what others may think of you, and you may have insecurities influenced by the opinions of others. If you think in terms of your home (your overall person, to include thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), your home is no longer secure. The doors and windows are unlocked, there is no security system…everyone has a key to you! Your home is burglarized on a daily and you’re heavily considering moving every day because you strongly dislike it there.
You have to regain control over your home so that it can become safe and secure once again. You do this by getting an alarm system, locking your doors and windows, and most importantly, getting back your keys that you freely gave away. You learn to set clear and healthy boundaries in every aspect of your life to regain control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You learn to not rely on the validation of others, or require their permission to be you. You learn how to relinquish feelings of shame and guilt that may have tagged along from past experiences that weren’t so pleasant. You use coping skills daily and you hold yourself accountable for your own happiness. Therapy can help you through this process. Choose to become empowered and fulfilled in your daily life…you deserve it!