We all love control. Let’s be honest.

But unfortunately we don’t always have it. And that’s a very difficult fact to digest for most people (I used to be one of them).

Despite the fact that we have control over very few things, we still try hard to take control over anything in life. And to hold on to the bits of control that we have real tight. Almost convulsively, and that’s where it (more often than not) goes completely bonkers!

Wanting to keep control also has everything to do with not being able and / or willing to accept that things are, as they are. (Or that things are NOT as you would like them to be!) You constantly resist reality. And the reality is that you do not always HAVE control…!

Acceptance is a difficult process in itself. Let alone accepting the fact that you are not and never will be (completely) in control …

So, what exactly IS Acceptance…?

People talk about it like it’s nothing! As if you can let go “just like that”.

Let it go,” they said. “It’s better for you,” they said…

Now – that’s all fine and dandy, but it’s not like YOU DON’T WANT TO LET GO, right? The will is there! It’s just that it doesn’t work, no matter how hard you try. Makes sense too, right? Because you probably have the wrong idea of ​​what acceptance entails. ?

Acceptance is one of the five parts of my unique Balance Pentagon-system for mental health. Below I will explain what I mean by (radical) acceptance. This is the explanation of acceptance, as explained in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): “Acceptance is – knowingly and knowingly – making space and opening yourself to all (personal) experiences, such as: thoughts, feelings, memories, tendencies, images, impulses and sensations.”

In other words: if you do not have the time and space in your life to allow all these experiences and to completely feel and experience them (and you keep avoiding them, keep fleeing from them), you will never truly find radical acceptance.

What exactly has ‘wanting to stay in control’ have to do with this?“, You may think.

Now, imagine for a second here that you’re someone who likes to take control – and you want to hold on to it, more than anything else. You enjoy having a sense of control over your life, your environment and certainly over your own body and emotions. I can totally imagine. (By nature I am a bit of a controlfreak myself.)

What happens though when something unexpected happens in your environment? For example: a loved one dies. What then…? Can you have any control over that?

No of course not. Even if you stand on your head, do some pretty twirls or if you’d have to walk all over the world: nothing will happen… Nothing can be done to get loved ones back into your life…

But then: isn’t that awful and really shitty?! Absolutely, no doubt about it! Darn it, it’s the hardest thing in life!!

But here comes the most important part – that a lot of people out there find very difficult: do you ALLOW yourself to feel shitty? Can you handle that bad feeling? The powerlessness? The grief and the pain?

Question: Do you ever allow yourself to feel SHITTY?

– Jamila

More often than not, this isn’t the case. And even though it makes perfect sense that you’re trying to suppress the awful feeling: does it help?

Does it help if you keep pushing it away? Not wanting to feel it, to flee from it, to constantly distract yourself or even to NUMB your emotions by using – for example – alcohol…?

Does it fix ANYTHING at all?

Probably in the short term. In the short term you gain a break from the intensity of the emotions. It helps you function – you can continue your daily life and tasks (well, maybe most of it).

And in the long run…? In the long run, the emotions will only cause MORE misery. Emotions – if they remain unprocessed and are pushed away – get stuck in your body and brain.

You can develop physical complaints, headaches, stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, all kinds of fears and panic attacks, gloominess or even depression, burnout, anger attacks, addictions, difficulty making choices, relationship problems, worry, you name it. The list goes on and on and on… Extra annoying if you LOVE to be in control… because these are not exactly situations that you can control unfortunately, once you’re in them.

Fortunately, the SOLUTION for this is quite SIMPLE: because if pushing away and avoiding your emotions leads to complaints that you DO NOT want… what option is left?

Exactly – facing your emotions and feelings head on. Recognising that they are there and that they suck. And then give them a little space.

Hate to say it, but: you have no other option. This is the only path. Taking the other path will get you in trouble even more

Allow yourself some time and space – your emotions, feelings and sensations are VERY NORMAL. You are not alone in this – it is even very human! Can you allow your emotions to simply be there? Can you accept that you are not (always) in control? Let me know in a comment below, or via Facebook (come join our private global community)!

With Love, xo,
Jamila – Psychologist, Mindfulness-trainer and ACT-Therapist.


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