In control, we find safety — or so we think. In my life, I have found security in controlling my environment, but what happens when that starts to crumble? What happens when one can no longer hold together all the pieces of their life?
To let go of control is to surrender to the flow of life. It is to be as free-flowing and adaptable as water, yet as strong and stable as a mountain. To let go of control is to trust in the infinite of everything.
It’s a normal part of this human experience to want to control one’s environment, but how do we know when it has become a hindrance rather than a help? I will share with you what I’ve learned about control and how you can start letting go and trusting life.
What is Letting Go of Control?
Letting go of control is releasing your attachment to certain items, emotions, and/or specific outcomes. It allows others to be their authentic selves, with the grace to trust the perfect outcome in every scenario and let go of material attachment.
Letting go of control comes with the understanding that you were never in control in the first place. To achieve the ability to let go of control, one must understand why they feel the need to control their environment.
When we learn to let go, we’re able to have more presence, peace, and acceptance in our lives.
I believe it all starts in childhood. Many of us had home lives where we felt unsafe or were surrounded by chaos. We didn’t have control over anything, and that was scary. Now, as an adult, you may find that control equals safety. This is certainly true in my life, and when things start to slip from my control, I can feel terrified.
In the process of releasing control, remember to be easy on yourself and have tremendous amounts of grace. The need for control is rooted in survival, as shown in a study published by The Natural Library of Medicine.
Because control is part of our primal instincts, it will never entirely go away and is beneficial for our lives in certain situations. However, where things start to get tricky is when the need for control permeates every level of one’s life and controls one’s emotional stability.
Synonyms of Letting Go of Control
Sometimes certain words or phrases can stick with us better than others. To help one understand what letting go of control means, here are some synonyms that mean the same thing:
- Let go
- Ease Control
- Relax and Surrender
- Surrender to the flow of life
- Let things be as they are
- Release your attachment
- Trust and let go
- Trust and surrender
Benefits of Letting Go of Control
When one is attempting to control the multiple layers of their life, their mind will be in a million places at once. The mind will not be present in reality and may spin stories about what could be happening around them.
When we learn to let go, we can have more presence, peace, and acceptance in our lives. This undoubtedly leads to a life full of joy and happiness.
The need for control creates a crazy amount of stress in one’s life because it’s simply impossible to control everything, so it’s the psychological equivalent of trying to catch the wind. While we logically understand that we can’t control things, another part of our psyche tries to control things anyways, which creates feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, and an inability to handle stress.
More than likely, you’ll need to dive into the depths of your unconscious and find the root of what causes you to feel like you need to be in control.
The Japanese Journal of Health released a study that showed participants who displayed a strong desire for control experienced more stress, and even high blood sugar, as compared to participants with low desire for control.
Therefore, letting go of control can lead to less stress, which benefits every part of one’s being — physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Let Go of Control in Relationships
One thing I’ve learned about myself is I subconsciously try to control how others react and what they think of me. I despise conflict and have a hard time when people don’t like or understand me. Because of this, I try to control my environment by keeping the peace and not doing anything too awkward or saying something someone might not agree with.
The hard lesson is that I can’t control how others perceive me — no matter how hard I try. It’s much better to be myself than try to control others’ thoughts.
I’ve also learned that when I release control over how someone else reacts, I can hold genuine space for them. Rather than fearing their anger or stress and trying to “fix” it so it will go away, I take a deep breath and hold space for their process.
In this way, letting go of control in relationships can greatly improve them. Letting go of control creates room for the other person’s curiosity, presence, and patience. It also creates acceptance of one’s self and the present situation.
Learning to Let Go of Control
Letting go of control is a process and will require commitment and work, which can be done through meditation, journaling exercises, worksheets, and by developing a spiritual practice.
More than likely, you’ll need to dive into the depths of your unconscious and find the root of what causes you to feel like you need to be in control. This will require inner child work and a reclaiming of one’s power.
I’ve come a long way in my ability to let go of control, and I have been able to do this through trust in myself and the Divine. This video is helpful in understanding control and how you can start letting go of it.
Letting Go of Control Meditation
Meditation is a powerful tool that can be used to let go of control. Through meditation, one can uncover why they feel the need to have control in the first place and find the peace and strength to surrender.
Letting Go of Control Exercises
There are several ways you can support yourself in the letting go of control process. These are activities you can try during moments of wanting to control something and activities you can do each day to support yourself.
- Spending time in nature
- Breathing exercises
- Repeating a mantra during times of stress
- Believing that you have the power to surrender
Letting Go of Control Worksheets
Pinterest is a great resource for letting go of control worksheets for you to print or answer the prompts in a journal. Sometimes it’s difficult to access these hard places on our own, such as why we do certain things, and journaling prompts can help us reach those areas.
You may also find helpful guides that show what you are in control of vs. what you aren’t. For example, you can create a list of what you can control (such as your reaction) vs. what you can’t (someone else’s reaction).
How to Let Go of Control
Developing a spiritual practice may be the greatest thing you can do to help you let go of control because one has to lean into trust. If you don’t know what to trust, letting go of control will be near impossible. At least it would be for me.
Find what you believe in, and lean into it. Hard. Ask for help and guidance. Be honest with the universe about where you are. Take deep breaths during times of stress. Ask yourself questions, and be curious about the answer. Be open to the messages of the spirit.
When we lose control, we become afraid and move to a place of fear. Try to become aware when you’re moving from a state of fear, and do something that will help you feel safe, grounded, and connected to yourself.
Books on Letting Go of Control
Books can be a wonderful resource when we need more guidance on letting go. While I haven’t read these yet, I think they’re worth checking out:
- The Power of Letting Go by John Purkiss
- Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins
- The Big Let Go: Letting Go of Control is Taking Control by Darcy Patrick
- Letting Go of the Need to Control by Ann M.
Give these books a try and don’t be afraid to look for more support and guidance on how to let go of control.
How do you let go of controlling behavior?
You can let go of controlling behavior by leaning into trust, discovering why you feel you need to control, and healing those parts of yourself.
What are the signs of a controlling person?
Some signs include being very particular about their items, how clean and tidy their house is, their inability to handle stress, and having to do things in a very particular way. The phrase “it’s my way or the highway” perfectly describes a controlling person.
Why is it hard to let go of control?
It’s hard to let go of control because we find safety and security in what we can control. When one feels that they can’t control their surroundings, they may feel triggered and terrified. Patterns developed in childhood often cause this.
How Real People Relate to Letting Go of Control
Letting go of control is something everyone has to deal with, at least to certain degrees. To prove this, I asked a few of my friends and family to describe ways or areas of their lives that they have learned (or hope) to let go of control. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned about how real people relate to control.
|Area of Life|
|23% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of other people’s emotions|
|23% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of what other people think of them|
|15% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of the safety of pets and loved ones|
|8% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of finances|
|8% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of everything in motherhood|
|8% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of how their day is structured|
|8% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of having a perfect house|
|7% of people polled wanted to learn to let go of not wanting others to use their coffee mug|
- Letting Go – How to Have More by Carrying Less
- The Art of Letting Go – Successful Techniques for Happiness
- Attachment Theory – Keys to Simple, Meaningful Relationships
- Feeling Stuck In Life – Learn to Free Yourself and Grow
- How To Let Go Of The Past – Insightful Benefits and Steps
- How To Disconnect – My Methods to Reflect and Recharge
While letting go of control isn’t an easy process, it’s essential to surrender to the flow of life. You’ll find unimaginable beauty, grace, acceptance, and peace in doing so. Letting go is an act of self-love that you can commit to every day. At this moment, is there something you’re holding onto? What would it feel like to let it go? Be curious, stay open, and see what you discover.