As someone with anxiety, I spend a lot of time trying to control and guide things. I always like to have a sense of knowing how things will turn out, or could turn out. I have found that a lot of people with anxiety often do this. Having that control, whether real or imagined, helps ease anxiety because it offers us predictability - and that's something an anxious mind thrives off of. But lately I am drawn to the idea that this control we seek might actually be doing more harm than good when it comes to our stress.
External situations cannot be controlled. We can play a part, we can have a role, but there is no way we can fully create the outcome. All we can do is control our individual part. We can move forward with things the way we would like to, but at some point we have to let go. I realized my desire to control things a long time ago. It used to be as simple as my always needing to drive when out with friends or me trying to force the plans for the evening so that i could make sure I was comfortable with what we were doing. I hated surprises and had to know everything. I never thought about it really being influenced by my anxiety, but it was. My need to control was always because I wanted to avoid becoming anxious.
I have definitely loosened the reigns in the past few years, but every now and again I get caught up in that need to control. I recently realized that I've spent a countless amount of time and energy trying to control something in my life that had been causing me frustration. Just like all the other times in my life, when I tried to take over and force things to happen, it always just lead to more stress, frustration and anxiety. The cycle continued and that extra stress made me want even more control. One night as I was again tossing and turning and losing sleep due to my frenzied mind, it hit me like a ton of bricks. The universe is once again offering me a lesson and a way to step back, trust, and let go. I was becoming crazed and consumed with stress and instead of seeing this, realizing it, and releasing control, I became more obsessed with taking over. That day I made a promise to myself to trust. There are times to step up and times to let go and I feel so much more freedom now. I'm staying hyper aware of when that stress and anxiety begin to rise, and if it does, I'm going to return to that promise. Until we learn the lesson, the universe will keep presenting us with the same situations and same people.
Think about things in your life that cause you to be anxious, situations that make you stressed or people that create tension, and see if there is a lesson the universe is trying to teach you.