Friday, March 15, 2013

Do You Feel In Control??

Something I've noticed rearing it's head in my life in the last few weeks has been my desire to be IN CONTROL. If you're on my email list (and if you're not, join here!), you already heard me say most of this - but make sure you check out the list I'm revealing below!

My desire to be (or to appear, at the very least) in control shows up everywhere... and of course I only seem to notice it when I'm not feeling it. When I'm in traffic, when the train is late, when it rains, when someone doesn't email me back, when I can't stop eating chocolate, when I'm having a wild hair day...

Sound at all familiar? A lot of the women I talk to say they are most stressed out when their life feels out of their control. It's the slippery slope problem. It's the crashing computer. It's your friend's/kid's/client's/partner's reaction. It's the vortex that sucks you in. I'll bet you can think of an example.

I like to reframe being in control as taking charge. When I really get honest about it, I like the feeling of "in-charge" better than "in-control" a whole lot better. As I was writing this, I made a list that I couldn't just keep on paper. I was surprised by how different these two things actually are and the different feelings they bring up in me. Can you relate?

Being "in charge" allows space for things to unfold and for me to be flexible, to adapt and meet situations and people where they are. I can be in charge of the party without having to stress about controlling every aspect of the food, parking, seating and socializing... in other words, I can let my Perfectionist (the sister of Control) off the hook.

The reality is that we can't control very much. But we CAN choose to be in charge of our actions and responses - our thoughts and feelings - about what happens. We can decide what meaning we make about it.

At the core of my work, I talk to women about being in-charge of their food choices: stocking their pantry, getting comfortable in the kitchen, keeping healthy snacks on hand, getting clear about which foods give them energy and which drain them, deciding what to eat based on how they know they want to feel. This being in-charge involves taking responsibility, controlling the controllable, and then letting go of the outcome. Yes, surrender.

Sometimes we burn the rice, sometimes we eat a food that upsets our stomach, sometimes we eat too much when we go out with friends. If we were trying to be in-control, these situations would mean that we had failed, we screwed up. Being in-charge means we can accept that it's not perfect, that we're working on figuring it out. We can take these situations as feedback, as learning experiences.

...Ahh, and that feels a lot better...

Would you add anything to those lists? What does the difference between "in control" and "in charge" feel like to you?

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