Do you trust the outcome or do you try to control it?
I confess that despite many years of personal development, healing and growth, I still find myself trying to do the latter.
Trying to control the outcome.
Trying to control what people think of me.
Trying to control everyone and everything so that I feel “safe”.
I have a huge need to feel safe, because I felt so unsafe when I was small.
I feel safe when I’m liked, when I’m approved of, when I’m loved (ideally universally loved, if that’s not too much to ask).
And I feel unsafe when people are angry with me, displeased with me or disapproving of me.
Of course, none of us like being disliked or being shouted at.
This is normal.
What’s problematic is when we have such a huge need to feel safe that we contort ourselves into strange shapes, bend over backwards and adopt a false self in order to avoid other people’s negative opinions, displeasure or anger (this is codependency, which I wrote about in a previous post).
Little Ms Perfect
I try to control things and people by endeavouring to be Ms Perfect.
I try to control things and people by not speaking the whole truth.
I try to control things and people by breaking the self-loving, self-caring boundaries that are so important for my emotional and mental wellbeing.
In the past, I tried to control my dating journey and romantic relationships by being what the guy needed me to be, instead of being true to myself.
To trust feels scary to me.
I grew up feeling like I didn’t have a backstop or a safety net.
I felt that I had to be responsible for absolutely everything – not just my own feelings but another’s too; not just my own wellbeing, but another’s too.
It felt like there would be nobody to catch me if I fell.
No wonder I developed controlling behaviours.
No wonder I’ve struggled to trust – to trust myself, to trust others, to trust God, to trust the Universe, to trust that everything will work out as it’s meant to work out and that I’ll be OK, to trust that I’ll survive.
At what cost?
I’m writing this because I felt myself becoming controlling in the run-up to the launch of my latest course, How to Fall in Love – Laying the Foundations, which began this week.
I wanted to control the number of women on the course, and control their experience of the course, rather than trusting that the right people would take the course and that enough people would join the course to make it a wonderful experience for everyone.
Of course, I care too.
I care deeply about delivering a fabulous course. I care deeply that my clients have a transformative experience.
This is important.
And this is why I’m very good at what I do (there – I said it!).
But, and I’m sure you can relate to this, we can care too much, can’t we?
As in, we can care so much about others’ feelings or about delivering something that’s near perfect that we don’t care enough about ourselves.
And we pay a high price for this.
This has been one of my biggest learnings over the years and remains a huge challenge – to trust, to let go of control, to believe that I am enough and that I have done enough and to trust that everyone will get what they need.
My control took me to burnout and breakdown in my first career as an international journalist.
I don’t want to go there again.
That’s why I changed my plan this weekend.
When we trust, we allow things to flow
I’d intended, on Sunday, to stay home and get ready for Monday and the start of my course, to tidy my office and “organise my life” (“organise my life” is often on my To Do list).
But I saw the sunshine and I felt the call of the outdoors, so I took off on a hike and to swim off the rocks.
I let go of control and I made myself happy, as you can see from my smiley face on this video.
And as I was out in nature, making myself happy, several people signed up to my course, creating a lovely-sized group.
I needn’t have worried after all.
So, how can you cultivate a little more trust in your life and let go of some of the control?
How can you surrender what others’ think of you and trust that you are enough, and that you have done enough?
If you’re looking for inspiration, you might want to visit or revisit the first two chapters of my book, How to Fall in Love.
For me, this is a healing journey that will never end.
It’s a journey of building up my emotional resilience (what I call my inner oak tree) and of making myself feel as safe as I can, so that I don’t crave a feeling of safety from others; a journey of learning to trust myself every day and to trust that I’ll be taken care of, without needing to control everyone and everything; a journey of accepting, deep down, that it’s safe to be myself.
Are you on this healing journey too?
A favour to ask, dear readers. If you enjoyed my book, How to Fall in Love, I would be so grateful if you’d take five minutes to leave a review on Amazon here. I am trying to hit 50 reviews to that I can distribute the book via a different platform and reach more readers. I have 38, which is already amazing!
And, a second favour. If you feel minded to do so, could you please subscribe to my YouTube channel here. I’m trying to hit 100 subscribers so that I can incorporate my name into the link. I have 90!
Finally, if you’d like to know what I’m up to – courses, retreats and so forth – sign up to my regular Love Letters on my website, www.katherinebaldwin.com.
Thank you, as always, for reading and for your support x