What my last trip taught me about power, control, inhibitions and fears.
So, this last trip I took circling the East Coast meant I had to fly 5 times, and for those of you who don’t know, I’m terrified of flying! I am not complaining however, just pointing out that it was one of many things I had to face on this journey.
With the opportunities that lay ahead, I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever willingly experienced so many emotional extremes in such a short period of time, as I did since boarding and exiting that plane. The whole week was a psychological roller coaster of ups and downs all at once, and it really made me explore parts of myself that I’ve been avoiding and hiding from for a long time.
I’m a Control Freak!
For the first time in years, I wasn’t in control of absolutely anything during this trip, other than the choice to go, or not to go. That is going to be my point however, I willingly conceded not to have any control, and needed to trust other people to handle the details when normally that’s my job! It’s a situation I have tried my best to avoid since California and Hawaii. And while I knew there were opportunities that awaited me on this trip, I had no idea to what extent they might entail.
I didn’t realize how hard it would be to accept these conditions or how much I would struggle. It led to a much deeper exploration of “self” than anything else. Some of you may be thinking ~ How wonderful, everything was handled for you, there was nothing to worry about, just sit back and enjoy the ride! I almost couldn’t though and it was hard, because I’m so used to having the lead and this required a different way of thinking. In retro-spec however, it proved to be extremely timely and may be the best thing that could have happened to me right now (funny how God makes that work, isn’t it? Lol!)
So, besides not being the one to handle all the details to and fro, I also wasn’t in charge of… well, anything else! The hotel, driver, itinerary ~ it was all taken care of, so I could focus on the meetings and main purpose for my visit. All I had to do was be honest, inquisitive, have an open mind and essentially try to relax, but I never realized how hard that could be to do.
We Can’t Hide From Ourselves
I discovered there are parts of me that I’ve been battling with my whole life, and I’m finally beginning to recognize and understand what they are and why. It’s a scary, but exhilarating experience! It’s that whole, learning how to quit struggling with God thing, and hating him for dragging me out to the desert kicking and screaming bit.
What I’ve come to realize is that if pieces of us are left unattended (ignored, locked up or kept buried deep inside) then for as long as we do that, we will be allowed to wander in the wilderness ~ lost, insecure and afraid. We will be incomplete. There must come a point in our lives when we learn how to accept and embrace every part of ourselves and truly learn how to love who God created us to be.
Our “Ah~Ha!” Moments
I never realized that I had such a huge problem with control, but now believe it to be the very core and foundational issue that I struggle with ~ the basis and key seed of all other issues which have sprouted from there. You see, “control” is the one trait that I absolutely detest the most, so to realize that the thing which I’ve always hated the most, is the very thing that has kept me bound internally this whole time… Well, my friends… That’s BIG! It is like a very sobering slap in the face, kind of big.
When moments like this happen it can be life changing, for now we have some choices to make. As uncomfortable as it may be at times, we should try to view them as opportunities (for change and growth) instead of focusing on the negative aspects.
So, now that I’ve been able to recognize that this is going to be another personal milestone in life (this issue of “control”) it’s time to deal with it and learn how to let go!
Feel the fear and do it anyways!
Why I Hate Control
Please bare with me, as I try to process and explain this, even to myself…
It seems as if people have been trying to control me my whole life ~ personally as a child living through abuse, to being an adult with abusive partners, to my professional life working undercover (being told who and what I am, how to look, act and dress ~ this also required an ability to stay in silent control of situations as much as possible.)
Because of that, I think I learned to hate “control” so much in my professional life that I went to extremes in order to avoid it (or even being perceived as being such) in my personal life. What this trip taught me is that even while I have tried to avoid it, that very act of denial within itself has just made me internalize it instead. In my attempts to deny and avoid, I became this internal control freak who has never learned how to let go. Doing that has gotten me into a lot of trouble and compromising situations outside of work. It means that, even though I excelled professionally, I have struggled with a lack of boundaries and expectations in my personal life (hence, perhaps still being single, lol!)
It’s no wonder I keep wrestling with God!
Control Verses Choices
And yet this is two-fold my friends, because while there’s this internal battle raging within, I also realize that I have had control the entire time, in the sense that it was always my choice whether or not to stay in abusive relationships (which I didn’t); it was my choice whether or not to take a job (understanding the ways in which I would need to concede); we may make the decision everyday to give up control (like choosing to follow orders even though we may not want to or feel like it.) The point being… that it is always our choice.
This realization is just as empowering, as the freedom to be found when we finally learn how to trust enough to let go. Does that make sense? Life is like that though, so perhaps the most common theme in life then is choice. I firmly believe that God’s greatest gift to mankind (besides his Son) is our freewill to choose!
Choices, Choices, and More Choices…
Everything you can think of in life begins with a choice doesn’t it…? From everyday little decisions like just getting out of bed, to the big ones which will decide what kind of person we want to be and the kind of life we will live. We get to choose whether or not we want to do something in the first place (even if we are aware of limitations that may be placed on us and are willing to accept them.)
Having faith is a choice.
Forgiveness is a choice.
Love is a choice.
Hate is a choice.
Our feelings are even a choice.
(medical exclusions may apply)
We are in control of our own choices. We are not in control of anyone else’s choice though ~ then it becomes paramount that we understand and learn that it’s all about how we choose to respond. It is our choice how we respond to the actions and decisions other people make. It is our choice how we respond to those things which we cannot control, including the bad things that might happen to us. That means the biggest responsibility we have essentially, is ourselves.
While I was excited about the prospects of this trip, it also scared the hell out of me for all the apparent reasons ~ I’m terrified of flying, I wasn’t even sure where I was going again, let alone who all the players were, if I’d be put to the test or what might be required of my skill sets, I wasn’t in charge or leading anything, etc. All of these things can be even scarier when traveling as a single woman too (even for one who is trained) but something deep inside decided that I wanted the opportunity more.
I wanted the chance, possibilities and dream even more than all of the fear, doubts and insecurities. And that is the very fuel which has propelled my entire life and all I have chosen to do. This is how you learn to live your dreams, my friends and it is the absolute cornerstone of change:
You must allow yourself to create and develop,
a stronger desire and passion for your hopes and dreams,
than you have or feel for your inhibitions and fears.
It’s the same kind of example as when I was growing up ~ how I broke the cycle of abuse in my family and how you can break it too. I may have been a solo act, but my desire for a better life and my love for God became that much stronger than the sum of all my fears. I assure you, once you get a taste for living life with this type of passion, you won’t settle for anything less in your future!