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The Truth About Control

Control and I have had a lifelong love affair. One of my best girlfriends pointed this out in my mid-20s, and it pissed me off…because she was right. We were at a beach and she really wanted to jump in the waves. She’s always been more of a free spirit and I’ve always been more reserved. As she was heading into the waves, I was cautiously standing at the place where they broke no higher than my knees. She looked back at me and said, “Oh, I get it, it’s about the control.” Bingo. Waves are uncertain creatures, and no way was my mid-20s self going to risk getting knocked down and possibly looking stupid, so I stayed where I could remain in control.

Fast forward over 15 years, and she’s still one of my best girlfriends. I’m happy to report that I am more free spirited these days, but I’d be lying if I said that things being out of my control didn’t still unnerve me a bit.

Here’s the truth, that even I hate to admit is true: control is an illusion. <—CLICK to Tweet It’s born of the desire to stay safe, and our brains tell us that if we can control everything around us nothing will make us unsafe. If only that was possible! You know as well as I do that it’s impossible to control everything. Waves will knock you down. Life will happen and it’s filled with good and bad surprises. What you can control is your reaction.

These days when I’m at a beach I go into the waves. They’re still uncertain creatures, but I’ve learned that even if I get knocked down there are people around who will help me get back up. I’ve learned that I’d rather have to dust myself off from time to time than miss out on those good surprises in life. I’ve learned that even the bad surprises often teach me something that is more valuable than any amount of control I ever thought I had. It’s not always smooth sailing but it’s so much more fun than staying out of the waves.

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