Confessions from my inner control freak
The beauty of becoming: Every new year is a time to reflect on what has happened in the previous 12 months and look forward to new goals and resolutions.
I truly enjoy setting aside time to find gratitude for what has been and set intentions for what will become — not so much resolutions but with a theme for the year.
While this is something I do every year, this year it feels bigger. It’s a personal email I send to 15-20 of my closest friends, this year I decided to make it public.
Maybe it’s because this year has seen a lot of endings, or because our nation was divided politically, or because something big is coming in 2017.
Whatever the reason, space is being cleared and while it may be more true for some rather than others, in my life at least growth, untangling, and endings are more then a little messy.
The Only Constant in Life is CHANGE
I try to navigate transition and change with as much honesty, transparency, and integrity as possible, but grace and subtlety have never been my strong suites so I am having to celebrate progress over perfection in both the times I get it wrong and right.
Uncertainty has never been easy for me (you know, unlike everyone else). It brings up feelings of fear, scarcity, and my oh so awesome inner control freak.
But many people much wiser than I often remind me that certainty is never really guaranteed. Even the things that appear certain can disappear in a moments notice.
I’ve always been bold with my choices and move forward regardless of popular opinion (and often reason). But I’m also a people pleasing perfectionist that never wants to be wrong or upset people.
This has made things slightly complicated since a step in any direction usually leaves me on the couch feeling not so awesome.
Live and Let Live
I’m beginning to think the answer is to let everyone live whatever life they want (including myself).
They don’t need my approval to be all of who they are, and I certainly don’t need theirs. And I have every right (as do they) to simply remove myself from people or situations that don’t meet me where I am at without judgement. Those goodbyes may be for a reason, a season, or simply a forever goodbye. Only time will tell.
If I’m honest I think when someone lives their life on their own terms and those terms are different then mine it’s easier to judge them instead of let them be because it threatens my sense of security. “What if they’re the one who got it right and I’m the one being an asshole?” Screams my inner control freak perfectionist.
But what if neither of us were assholes and we were all just finding our own way?
By the way I still reserve the right to call someone an asshole when they are actually being one. But maybe it’s time to let my inner judge and jury go on a nice long vacation. I mean, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones right?
Reality Is Perception
What if we all assumed that everything was happening for our benefit (yes, even the really awful hard stuff).
My friend recently told me about an idea I’m going to try out for 2017 — whatever happens, no matter how horrible you say “oh, good” because I am going to assume that everything happening is for my benefit (yes, even the really awful hard stuff).
At first this sounded crazy — oh good I lost my job/house/boyfriend? Oh good I didn’t get what I want? Oh good I don’t know what to do? That’s crazy.
But then I started realizing how many times something not so great happens and I get stuck in that feeling. I never take the time to look past what is happening to find the opportunity or lesson.
I spend so much time looking at the proverbial shut door I never find the open window.
Since my life isn’t always sunshine, flowers, and puppies I’m sure more then once in the coming year someone will remind me I said this and I will want to punch them in the face.
But hey, isn’t that what accountability is all about? Other people helping you do the things you said you wanted to do before they got too hard so you quit.
What Your Focus On You Find
Our minds are like a super powered google search. Just like there are way too many websites to sort through, there are infinite circumstances all happening at the same time — but what we focus on becomes our own personal google search bar — you only see what you search for.
I am currently 33, moving out of my home and unsure of where I will be going (potentially homeless), single and not having the easiest time dating (who does), with a moderately well behaved (at best) although adorable dog. My google search hasn’t been looking too good lately.
Before I go throwing myself my own personal pity party there are all kinds of great things I have: like a career I love and fought to create for myself, a kick ass community of friends who love and support me, an amazing therapist who keeps things in perspective, travel and freedom.
But those don’t come up in my google search. Because why would I search for what I already have?
I’ve started to notice when someone asks me how things are going I jump right to what isn’t working — I tell them about how I got stuck in traffic not the amazing lunch I had.
Silly example but it got me thinking because most of my complaints aren’t actual problems, but the really silly stuff I’m not even upset about, I just say it (like why is it so cold, why did I have to wait so long for a coffee, ugh — can you believe so-and-so did that).
But why? It would be just as easy to focus on all the great stuff, no matter how little (It’s really beautiful after it rains, I got a coffee this morning, wow-can you believe so-and-so did that!).
Since this focus on what is going wrong isn’t really doing me much good, why not switch it up. If what I focus on becomes my reality how easy would it be to make things awesome right now.
Because when everything is uncertain … anything is possible. You just have to change your google search — because what you focus on is what you will find.
Now What …
This is usually where I break out my post its + markers and get the goal planning party started. Who doesn’t want a color-coded flow chart to be help them be more positive (or at least just quit focusing in the negative).
Positivity? Let’s do this. I’ll make positivity my bitch. And there goes that inner control freak perfectionist who needs to get it right.
As all my favorite people reflect back to me, my process is messy. It isn’t linear and clear. There are stops and starts and juggling of projects and priorities. It rarely involves following a schedule or routine (because I might actually be physically incapable of doing that).
So I am letting my people pleasing perfectionist control freak go on vacation this year. She has been working way too hard for too long — she deserves some time off. (Sorry that means no color-coded flow chart this time).
I’m going to focus on my progress, not my perfection. I’m going to focus on what I want to create and celebrate the uncertainty of it all, because with that comes possibility.
And I’m going to TRUST THE MAGIC OF NEW BEGINNINGS.