Addiction to Control

 This week’s Guest Blog is by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. a best-selling author of End the Struggle and Dance with Life: How to Build Yourself Up When the World Gets You Down. Susan is a sought-after public speaker blogger and has been a guest on many radio and television shows internationally

An old woman, when asked why she was always cheerful, replied: “Well, I wear this world just as a loose garment.” – Unknown

 What a lovely image! What came to me when I first saw this quotation were the words… free, easy, comfortable, soft, flexible, flowing, dancing.

That’s the way we all want to wear life. Most of us, however, wear it like a girdle…tight, hard, rigid, uncomfortable and constricting. How we long to take off that girdle and breathe deeply! How we long to let go of all those things that keep us immersed in struggle instead of flying above the clouds!

Wearing the world as a loose garment means…

  • not hanging on so tightly to the way it’s “supposed” to be;
  • trusting that all is well…that life is happening perfectly;
  • seeing the possibility of love and growth that exists in all experiences;
  • recognizing that the ebb and flow of life can be faced from a place of harmony instead of struggle.

What stops us from wearing the world as a loose garment? When we look for an answer, our tendency is to blame everything on what is “wrong” in our lives and in our world. And usually we can find much to blame.

Thankfully, our consciousness is changing. Many books have been written suggesting our inability to let go and enjoy life has nothing to do with anything out there. It has to do with what is going on inside. We are awakening to the fact that when things are not all right within our external world, something is not all right within our being.

Our inability to let go suggests an addiction to control. Noted author, Ken Keyes in his book, Enjoy Your Life In Spite of It All, describes the symptoms of an addiction:

  • It creates tension in your body;
  • It makes you experience separating emotions such as resentment, anger and fear instead of unifying emotions which give you experiences of acceptance, love and joy;
  • Your mind tells you things must be different in order for you to enjoy life here and now;
  • Your mind makes you think there is something important to win or lose;
  • You feel that you have a “problem” in your life – instead of experiencing life as an enjoyable “game” to be played.

Does all this sound familiar?

The good news is that addictions can be overcome. We don’t have to live a life controlled by our need to control! We can learn how to let go, thus feeling more comfortable, soft, flexible and flowing about life…like wearing the world just as a loose garment.

I believe that all addictions are a function of the LOWER SELF.

  • The Lower Self has been incorrectly educated to think the only way to survive is to be numb to the feelings of others.
  • The Lower Self absorbs the teachings of our society and, as a result, is caught in the treadmill of more-better-best.
  • The Lower Self acts as a frightened parent who does not trust in our ability to handle all the “threats” in our life.
  • The Lower Self has no vision and does not understand that all situations in life, good and bad, can be used as a teaching for our highest good.

Any time there is a sign of a real or imagined external threat, the Lower Self automatically triggers our need to control. The way we handle our addiction to control is to pull away from the fear tactics of our Lower Self and rise to the level of our Higher Self, the “Spiritual” part of who we are. The Higher Self is the dwelling place of all good things such as love, power, creativity, joy, satisfaction, and abundance.

  • The Higher Self knows we have the strength to handle anything that can ever happen to us.
  • The Higher Self doesn’t see the outside world as a threat to our lives; it sees it as a place to learn and grow and contribute.
  • The Higher Self has great vision and can guide us to where we need to go with our lives.
  • The Higher Self knows that all situations in our life can be used as a teaching for our highest good.

Anytime there is a sign of a real or imagined external threat, the Higher Self calms us down and assures us that “all is well.” As a result, we feel no need to control everything and everyone around us. In the realm of the Higher Self, we can say to ourselves… “It’s all happening perfectly. Whatever happens in my life, I’ll handle it!

Given this differentiation, I’m sure you will agree that the key to ending the struggle and dancing with life is to create as many Higher Self moments in your life as you can – despite what is happening in your external world. You will notice how freeing it is to leave your Lower Self behind!

The irony inherent in our attempts to control everyone and everything around us is the fact that very little in the world is controllable. Even when we think we are controlling something or someone out there, our efforts are misplaced. The only thing we can effectively control is our reactions to whatever life hands us. What can be more powerful than that!

When we are in control of our reactions, we can be battered by the world around us and still maintain an inner sense of peace.

I love the story of the monk who was confronted by an angry warrior who said, “Don’t you know who I am? I am someone who can cut off your head and not bat an eye!” The little monk looked him in the eyes and calmly replied, “Don’t you know who I am? I am someone who can have you cut off my head…and not bat an eye!” Now that’s the ultimate in controlling our reactions to whatever life hands us…the ultimate in wearing the world as a loose garment!

Most of us don’t attain the ultimate enlightenment of our fearless monk, but we can still learn many of the principles of inner peace that he demonstrated. We can begin to let go of our addictive demands and flow with the events in our life over which we have little or no control.

Learning the art of letting go is essential to our ending the struggle and dancing with life. We can’t become laughing Buddhas by being compulsive, obsessive, fearful and untrusting. The prison of the Lower Self keeps us from exploring paths that lead to self-fulfillment. Even though we think we are giving ourselves protection by seeking to control everything “out there,” we now know this is simply an illusion.

Applying the “letting go process” to all the difficult areas of your life, you automatically feel lighter and breathe easier. You see that your inner peace has nothing to do with the dramas of your life. When you find your way to your Higher Self, the Buddha inside of you will truly begin to laugh!

Copyright © 2012 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Adapted from End the Struggle and Dance with Life: How to Build Yourself Up When the World Gets You Down

Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. has helped millions of people throughout the world overcome their fears, heal their relationships, and move forward in life with confidence and love. She is the author of many internationally renowned books including her latest book is The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love, which was published in the UK in May 2005 and in the US and Canada by her own publishing company, Jeffers Press, in October 2005. As well as being a best-selling author, Susan is a sought-after public speaker and has been a guest on many radio and television shows internationally. She lives with her husband, Mark Shelmerdine, in Los Angeles. Susan’s web site is:  

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