How Letting Go of Control Brings You Freedom and Contentment

by Stephen Mills on April 7, 2011

Note from Stephen:  This is a guest article by Daniel A. Miller and is the topic of a new book by him.  The topic of letting go of control is very important and I wholeheartedly support the perspective offered by this article and the author’s book.  Please consider checking out his book and web site.

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed?   Do you want more intimacy and connection with your loved ones?  Are you lacking the time to pursue your passions?

There is a way to change all that:  let go of control—or as I like to say, lose control!

Trying to control people and events harms us and everyone around us.  It blinds us to options and choices we can make that would greatly improve our lives emotionally, spiritually, creatively and financially.   Instead we worry incessantly and become imprisoned by our fears, anger and anxiety, all of which consume inordinate amounts of needless time and energy.   This time and energy could instead be devoted to pursuing our passions—if we are willing to lose some control in our lives.

When we let go of control, our blinders come off and we can engage in life’s currents in an intuitive and expansive manner and thereby discover life’s possibilities.   Moreover, when we stop trying to control others, the focus changes from them to us.    We can then work on improving our shortcomings and enhancing our skills, talents and creativity.

In short, you will have more freedom and contentment when you lose control.   Let me share two true stories that illustrate this in two important life arenas.

Letting Go of Control at Home Creates Intimacy

With families and close friends we often want or demand more than what is (or can be) given to us.   For example, we may feel the need for more support, affection and validation from our parents.    Similarly, parents may feel the need for more respect and attention from their children.   Controlling actions are frequently the means used to try to fulfill these needs.   However, pressuring others, particularly those closest to us, breeds anger and resentment.   After all, who likes being told how they should be?

A case in point is the story of Emma, an only child who had immigrated to the United States from the “old country” after World War II, and her daughter, Anna.

Emma was ill-equipped to raise her five children in a culturally diverse country, and she made no bones about not enjoying being a mom.  Once she even told Anna that if she could do it all over again, she would not have had children.   Nevertheless, Anna was a dutiful daughter who dearly wanted a nurturing mother, and thus continually looked to Emma for support and encouragement.  But it rarely came.   Instead, Anna usually received criticism and demeaning remarks from her mother.   Yet, well into her adult life, Anna persisted in seeking what her mother was unable to give her and always got the same results.

Then one day Anna had an epiphany that dramatically changed the relationship between the two women.   Anna had seen a movie in which the heroine was viciously attacked, and the first person she called for help was her mother.   This made an impression on Anna.   She realized that her own mother would have been the last person she would have called under similar circumstances.   From that turning point, Anna stopped trying to change her mother and began accepting her for who she was—and just as important, for who she wasn’t!

Interestingly, their relationship improved dramatically.   The pressure was off Emma to be someone she wasn’t.    Over time, the two became friends and equals, and Emma began to open up more to her daughter.    When Emma later became gravely ill and was dying, Anna was there to share her mother’s final intimate moments, in which they selected the songs and prayers, even the clothes and jewelry to be worn, for Emma’s funeral.

Thus, Anna’s willingness to accept her mother as she was finally brought her the intimacy that she was unable to have by seeking it.

Letting Go of Control at Work Pays Large Dividends

The workplace is where humanity’s primal drive for sustenance and survival is most prominently played out.   As such, it is a hotbed for costly and inefficient control practices.    Being willing to lose some control at work brings unexpected rewards.

Many years ago I formed an investment partnership to purchase the largest and most expensive office building I had ever known.   I was very excited by the property’s prospects.    It seemed to have everything going for it—quality contruction and design, solid tenants and a great location.  In fact, I proudly considered it my “flagship” property.    However, shortly after the purchase the local office market took a dive and we lost key tenants.  I devoted almost all my time and energy to trying to save the property from foreclosure, including coming up with expensive promotions, remodeling the common areas and offering rent reductions.   I even changed the name of the building.

Nothing worked.   We were on the verge of losing our entire investment.  However, being the compulsive controller that I was, each defeat only caused me to press harder.   Then one day one of my partners said, “Maybe the building is the heavy anchor that is weighing you down.  Have you ever thought about unloading it so you can focus on your other properties?”

I was stunned.   The truth and common sense of what he said were immediately apparent, but I had never considered it because I was so preoccupied with trying to “save” the investment.   I then stopped “working” the property.  I mentally let it go and focused on my other properties, which I had neglected because I had been compulsively seeking a solution to a problem that was not ready to be solved.  In other words, I gave up control—although I didn’t think about it in those terms at the time.

A short time later a solution emerged that I never could have foreseen.  Two of my passive partners met with the seller of the building (who was also our lender) and negotiated a sale of the building back to him at a price that recouped half our investment.   My decision to back off turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.   By putting my time and effort into my other properties, their collective value appreciated so much within a couple of years that it made up for the loss on the flagship property many times over.

After that I began letting go of more and more control at work.   I stopped forcing issues and pressing for solutions.   In that manner, I allowed the work “currents” to flow more naturally, and I was able to engage those currents in an intuitive manner.  What evolved was a highly efficient way of doing business in which I made fewer mistakes, had fewer diversions and had much less stress and anxiety.    I eventually cut my work time by half and made more money.

I thus had much more time and energy to explore life’s possibilities.   I became a fine artist (after never being able to draw as a child), a published poet, a seniors’ tennis champion and an author of a book about the benefits of losing control.

Letting Go of Control Helps You Find Freedom and Contentment

Work life and intimate relations are not the only life arenas in which not resisting life’s natural currents bestows remarkable rewards.   In a similar manner, letting go of control expands your creative horizons,  strengthens friendships and improves athletic and other types of performance.    As it does, you will have the time and energy—and desire—to pursue your passions, and you will no longer feel stressed out and overwhelmed.

Because control is such a deeply ingrained pattern in most of us, releasing control can be very difficult, particularly in important life issues and challenges.   For that reason, I recommend that you start by gradually giving up control in “low stake” areas of your life so that you can get comfortable with the process.   As you begin experiencing the benefits of the process, you will gain the confidence to lose control in more vital areas of your life.   And as you move forward, you will find greater freedom and contentment in your life.

Daniel A. Miller is a businessman, an artist and the author of Losing Control, Finding Serenity: How the Need to Control Hurts Us and How to Let It Go (Ebb and Flow Press, 2011), and writes about control issues at www.losingcontrolfindingserenity.com (where excerpts from his book can be read) and at blog.losingcontrolfindingserenity.com


Related posts:

  1. Freedom From Compromise and Control Accept and treasure differences, not just between cultures but all...
  2. Getting To Freedom by Working the System The bottom line is that for those things you have...
  3. 8 Ways to Improve Your Focus and Control Your Attention These days there may be no scarce resource more valuable...
  4. Choosing Real Freedom I have been a slave to the tyranny of my...
  5. Contentment Being happy with what you have, while at the same...

{ 1 trackback }

The Remarkable Gifts of Letting Go of Control | Danny's Decontrol Yourself Blog
May 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin | Mazzastick April 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

Trying to control people and events is a waste of time to me. Even if you do get a person to be the way you want them to be, all you will be doing essentially is destroying who they really are.

Also assigned roles as parents, children, spouse, etc become too much for one person to handle. How about just be who you are with little or no expectation of who you should be.

If we could just get enough people on board to see how controlling behavior is really a mask worn by insecurity.
Justin | Mazzastick´s last [type] ..Is Time An Illusion

Reply

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills April 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Hey Stephen, as it happens I have Daniel’s book and found his observations and conclusions inspiring. When I was younger I was a bit of a control freak and I know how that mindset works. Thankfully I got past it a learned to let it go. Once I did my whole world changed in many of the ways outlined in this article.
Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last [type] ..Can You Live a Balanced Life with a Cluttered Mind

Reply

Andrew Johnson May 23, 2011 at 5:47 am

Hey Daniel, nice article.

This is a similar concept to the sedona method where you practice letting go of wanting control. This probably deals more with letting go of control on an internal level, rather than externally.

It is very liberating once you get to the point of not needing or wanting control over everything, and as you say, your intuition allows you to “notice” more opportunities when you “get out of the way”.
Andrew Johnson´s last [type] ..Self Esteem Affirmations That Actually Work

Reply

lorarian89 May 23, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Good post. This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post. I am sure this post has helped me save many hours of browsing other similar posts just to find what I was looking for. I just want to say: Thank you!
lorarian89´s last [type] ..Lip plumper

Reply

Danny June 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Thank you Lorarian for your kind words. It is very rewarding that the importance of letting go of control in our lives resonates with so many people.
It encourages me to continue my discourse on the many facets of the control dynamic.

Danny

Reply

jenny123 June 13, 2011 at 3:20 am

In my view, what personal development really comes down to is a desire and willingness to change ourselves. I can’t change anyone but me. I can’t control what others do but I can take responsibility for myself instead of blaming my circumstances. I have witnessed the power that comes from seizing control of my own life instead of remaining a victim of my circumstances.
jenny123´s last [type] ..send sms

Reply

Gray September 6, 2011 at 9:52 am

I think jenny has a point, different people, different circumstances…
Gray´s last [type] ..New Driver Insurance – Tips to Find the Best Price

Reply

Diagnostics OBD2 July 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm

ELM327 Bluetooth software OBD2 EOBD CAN-BUS Scanner ToolAK-47

Reply

synthetic grass orange county August 3, 2012 at 2:20 am

Use in all weather: The temperature did not affect the use of synthetic grass orange county. Therefore, efficiency is really a lot enhanced. Besides, artificial grass orange county can be used in intense weather conditions, hot or cold.
. Fresh Green Roofs: Natural grass will gradually withered, unusable. Whilst fake lawn orange county always gives you a sense of fresh spring green.

Reply

improve eyesight Naturally free download October 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Can I just say what a comfort to discover someone who truly knows what they are discussing over the
internet. You certainly understand how to bring a problem
to light and make it important. A lot more people need to
look at this and understand this side of your story. I was
surprised that you aren’t more popular because you most certainly possess
the gift.
improve eyesight Naturally free download´s last [type] ..improve eyesight Naturally free download

Reply

franchise mcdonalds March 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm

These meals are then complemented with a myriad of fresh toppings, such as Tahina’s salad,
hummus, eggplant, tabbouleh, feta, carrot salad and many more.
These training programs can also be availed on a regular basis.
An example of these websites is Franchise Review, where
you can read or give your own franchise reviews.
franchise mcdonalds´s last [type] ..franchise mcdonalds

Reply

pawn shops near me open sunday July 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I know this site offers quality based articles or reviews and extra data,
is there any other web site which presents these kinds of
things in quality?
pawn shops near me open sunday´s last [type] ..pawn shops near me open sunday

Reply

Florencia August 4, 2014 at 9:26 pm

We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.

Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You have done a formidable job and our whole community wiill be grateful
tto you.
Florencia´s last [type] ..Florencia

Reply

cerrajero bonanova September 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Thanks designed for sharing such a good opinion, paragraph is fastidious, thats why i
have read it fully
cerrajero bonanova´s last [type] ..cerrajero bonanova

Reply

ทัวร์ญี่ปุ่น September 25, 2014 at 1:43 am

I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at this
website is actually pleasant.
ทัวร์ญี่ปุ่น´s last [type] ..ทัวร์ญี่ปุ่น

Reply

Cambio de cerraduras alcala de henares October 11, 2014 at 7:31 am

I do consider all the ideas you’ve offered on your post.

They’re very convincing and will certainly work.
Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for beginners.
May you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.
Cambio de cerraduras alcala de henares´s last [type] ..Cambio de cerraduras alcala de henares

Reply

max October 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm

nice

Reply

cerrajeros barcelona sant marti February 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Sin ningún género de dudas, cualquier madrileño ha necesitado
necesitará un cerrajero 24 horas en la Comunidad de Madrid.
cerrajeros barcelona sant marti´s last [type] ..cerrajeros barcelona sant marti

Reply

robaxinMl July 3, 2015 at 6:17 am

robaxin and keflex buy robaxin uk robaxin or flexeril which is stronger

Reply

17 Of The Hottest Ways To Wear Stripes May 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

*In this late-night function which will flee aboard Tuesday and Thursday of every week Ill gather up three sport items namely are currently on bargain online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite clothe sla

Reply

网络配音 June 6, 2016 at 4:03 am

  企业在进行SEO时,总会遇到各种各样的奇葩问题。归根到底,是对SEO的功能有一些错误的认知。比如,一些企业没有明确的项目目的,就开 广州配音 始盲目地进行优化。其最终结果连自己都不清楚是不是想要的。或者,有一些企业认为,只要依靠SEO让排名上去了,一切就都有了。其实则不然。  业内人士认为,SEO只是一种手段,是一个辅助的策略,其目的根据营销的最终结果而定。而且,并不是排名上去了,销售转化率就上去了。如果网友点击进入网站后,被没有被粗制滥造的页面所吸引,那么到访量再高也没用。  企业真正要在网络营销领域里闯出一片天,没有SEO不行,但更需要的是专业的SEO辅助工具。目前市场上专业的SEO辅助工具有

Reply

俄语配音 June 6, 2016 at 4:03 am

  专业配音  一个SEO人员必须具有足够的耐心,SEO是一个枯燥的工作,实际上刚接触这个行业的人都有身有体会,每天发外链,在各个网站发帖,但是在这个行业要想做到一个出类拔萃的高手,这还需要一个小小的过程,也就是要不断地学习和研究。小编今天给大家简单的介绍一下一个SEO要具备什么样的能力和网站优化的技巧:  一:能力:  1、文字撰写能力:  从小学我们就开始接触文字,真正能信手拈来,随心所欲的撰写文字,那么效果是惊人的。同样的几段文字通过不一样的组合,结果就会表达出各种千奇百怪的意思。所以你要知道,没有哪一个SEO高手是不懂编辑的。  2、交往能力  众人划桨开大船,众人拾柴火焰高的道理大家都懂的,但在

Reply

广州配音 June 9, 2016 at 12:20 am

  P2P网站如何做SEO?之前在某个微信群看到过自称是SEO行业顶尖高手,专家级 配音 人物关于P2P网站SEO的分享.很多在微信群的朋友也看过,但都觉得过于笼统,于是私信笔者,希望获得更多的实战操作分享。  笔者不是SEO顶尖高手,也不是SEO专家,但是绝对是SEO实战的行者.加上从事互联网金融行业,希望能分享一些个人干货,对大家有所启发。  一:投资用户的挖掘和锁定  获取到网络目标用户数据越精准,转化率越高。  获取数据的来源如下:  1.第三方数据分析机构(本文案例来自GEO集奥数据)。  2.百度商情/指数。  3.网络调研。  二:用户需求关键词挖掘  根据用户人群特性来做用户的搜索关键

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge