Control What’s In Your Control: Accepting When to Let Go

Posted on August 19, 2021 by Adam Frei, MS, LPC, CEAP

Updated April 17, 2023

Letting go birds_smallLife is full of uncertainty. While we have control over many of the decisions we make in our lives, there are also many aspects that are outside of our control. Knowing when to take control and when to let go is one of the greatest superpowers you can develop.

When life feels like it is spiraling out of control or not going the way we expected, this feeling can come from spending too much time trying to move seemingly immovable objects. You might feel this way about the pandemic, what this school year will look like, about people who have views that are different than your own, what’s going on in the world today—there are many things that could make us feel this way.

When we focus our energy on the aspects of our lives we can control, we experience a higher level of life satisfaction and overall happiness. Putting our energy into the things we can control does not mean that we forget or ignore those outside of our control; it does mean that our energy is going toward more productive, healthy things.

If you are focusing too much energy on trying to change things outside of your control, you could be experiencing the following:

  • Your mind shifting from topic to topic and from past to future very quickly
  • Lack of ability to concentrate and poor memory
  • Low present-moment awareness

The great irony is that attempting to control things out of our control actually feels a lot less in control. This is a signal that we are in our own way. When we are able to surrender those things that we don’t have control over, we feel calmer, see things more clearly, take in the bigger picture and ultimately, regain control. We can more effectively cope with larger life stressors that may feel more uncontrollable and continue to focus our action where we can have the greatest impact on our overall well being. Building this skill of being able to “let go” is one of the greatest superpowers you can possess to help be in control.

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