KENTUCKY (11/16/13) - If you have been following my column, you know about my struggles with anxiety. I suffered from generalized anxiety for 18 years. Every day, I was in constant alert mode. Feelings of bewilderment and nervousness were my normal. When I finally became sick of living life this way, I began down a road of healing and self-discovery. As I began healing, I realized that my expectations were out of line and this was causing a big portion of my anxieties. I decided to sit down and write out all of my expectations. Once I was done, I couldn’t believe how long the list was! No wonder I had so much anxiety, I was expecting way too much out of life! I expected life to be fair and good at all times. Unfortunately, this is not the world that we live in.
Today, taming my expectations is on area of my life that still needs work, particularly my need to control everything that happens in my life. What about you? Do you feel the need to have to control everything in your life? Life has a way of doing its own thing. Life seems to happen in different seasons; where change is life and it is inevitable. Many things happen to us that is out of our control. When this happens to you, is it hard for you to let go sometimes? At times, it is for me too. For example, I seem to want to get attached to certain good aspects in my life or certain friendships. Then, when things change and the thing that I enjoyed so much fades away, I get upset. This is just being human. Nevertheless, it can still be unhealthy to place your happiness into something or someone.
Do you agree?
How can we release the need to control and hold on?
How do we let go?
Before we dive into that, I want to make this point. WE ARE NOT GOD AND CANNOT CONTROL EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIVES. We know this intellectually, but sometimes we can act like we really don’t accept it.
Another point I would like to make is that maybe the need to hang on to whatever it is could be an unhealthy dependence in our life. Maybe God has allowed this to fade from our lives to show us that we can live and be happy without it.
Also, I believe that there are people that come into our lives who need us and our experiences and vice versa. Have you ever thought that maybe a certain chapter in your life has come to an end to line you up with a person that may need you or that you may need? I just wanted to throw those tidbits out there as something for you to think about.
Now, back to how to let go, I have created a box that I keep in my closet. I call it my “Let Go and Let God” box. The box has a slit at the top for me to insert paper into. Whenever a change is going on in my life that may affect something that I do not want to let go of, I follow these simple steps of releasing it:
1. Write the situation on a small piece of paper.
2. Hold the paper in your hands and say a small prayer, intending to release any attachment or need to control the situation.
3. Continue to hold it in your hands for a few moments, all the while mentally releasing it.
4. Place the piece of paper into your “Let Go and Let God” box.
5. Wash your hands as a symbol of release.
When I have done this exercise, I have felt tremendously release. It’s a lot better than worrying needlessly about it.
You may be reading this and be thinking, “Yeah this sounds really good, but I am still going to worry about it.” This is very true, but here is my question to you: has worrying about it ever solved it for you? Now, I am not talking about things that you can change or do something about. If something is happening in your life that you can change, by all means do. I am talking about those things that happen in life that we cannot change.
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Remember that we do not see the big picture; we don’t see how this story called “Our Life,” ends. Only God knows that. He is the author and finisher of our life.
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
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