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The issue of control

When things are not going well for us, it can seem that the power balance of our life rests somewhere else..

I was chatting with a friend the other day and we were discussing relationships and situations that can influence our emotional experience. Life is rarely simple or easy and that is why we grow through challenging experiences, they teach us a lot about ourselves. At times work relationships, home relationships and friendships can be a part of life challenges and we can experience many emotions in journeying through these. This can be compounded if the relationship includes a power dynamic that we do not seem to be able to control.

Relationships are not always equal, they are not always fair and at times they can be hurtful.

If we feel there are words spoken about us or judgements made in regards to our conduct, and we are unable to answer or be present to express our side of the story. Then we can feel that the power dynamic is out of balance and we are not in control of this area of our life. The impacts of feeling disempowered can be frustrating, they can make us angry and we can begin to wonder whether we are able to bring change to the experience.

'Contentment and peace can be interlocked with external experiences, and we can become emotional connected to the ups and downs of such connections'.

Now, I am not going to say that you can always change these situations, power dynamics can support certain individuals more than others. However, we can shift the inner world of ourselves. Contentment and peace can be interlocked with external experiences, and we can become emotional connected to the ups and downs of such connections. If our relationship at work with a manger is going well, we can find work to be an enjoyable experience. Yet the the opposite can also be true and we can find work challenging if the relationship is not what we desire it to be. In this space our emotions are connected to another person and we can feel a loss of control over ourselves. If we want to shift this experience, then what can we do?

Identifying where control sits can be a helpful way to unlock our thoughts around this space.

Taking the time to write down the current experience and ask questions around what you are feeling. If the experience is in a work environment where you are feeling powerless about words and opinions of you, then write down where you are feeling powerlessness and pose some questions around these feelings.

  • Can I control what others say about me?

  • Am I able to offer a different story in that conversation?

  • Can I control what others think about me?

Then ask some questions where you do feel you have power:

  • Does another persons opinion need to control me emotionally?

  • Who are the trusted and important voices in my life - and is this voice one of them?

  • What can I learn from this experience?

  • What is possible for me in this role or is there another role I want?

  • Do I need to stay in this situation?

Such an activity reveals that once you begin to think about it, the list within your control is so much greater than the list outside of your control. The power dynamic is in your favour, because you control you. Your responses, your thoughts and your feelings are yours to make choices over.

This can be a very important shift, because is it is an empowering movement away from feeling disempowered and out of control. It doesn't mean that such a journey is easy, or that such experiences won't be repeated in life; but it can be a helpful practise that allows us to shift our thoughts and feelings earlier than we normally would. This allows clarity to become our partner through such times, rather than the struggle that comes with confusion.

You can make important shifts in your life, because no one knows you better than you know yourself - being aware of this makes you powerful.


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