The world is big, our lives are complex, and the universe works in mysterious ways. What does that mean for us? It means that we can’t control everything. And guess what? That’s what makes life so exciting to live!
Not everyone will agree with this statement though. In fact, the idea that we can’t control everything is often one of the biggest sources of fear for many people – especially those of us with anxiety.
When we have anxiety, we tend to want to have complete control over everything about ourselves, our life, and the world around us. This, however, is an impossible feat – there are just WAY too many things that are beyond our control!
That’s why learning the art of letting go and surrendering control is a crucial step in your journey to overcoming your anxiety. So in this post, I’m going to be teaching you the three key steps that will help you accept, manage, and eventually even appreciate the unpredictability of life!
Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice. My goal is to empower people struggling with anxiety in non-traditional ways that they can do alongside professional help.
There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, there’s a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!
Step 1 – Have faith in the world
The word “faith” may conjure up images of churches, worship, and higher powers – but this isn’t the type of faith I’m talking about here. Faith doesn’t necessarily mean religion, it just means believing in your heart that things will be okay.
When we have anxiety, we tend to believe that the WORST is going to happen ALL the time. We think that some HUGE, TERRIFYING disaster is always lurking right around the corner. This is just irrational thinking though.
And this is where having faith in the world comes in.
Okay, okay – I know what you’re probably thinking: “easier said than done!“. But before you go giving up so soon – don’t forget: we’ve got an All-Star team playing for us…
The entire Universe is on our side.
It’s true that bad things happen, but I promise you – bad things happening is not the norm.
So what is the norm of the world?
The norm is regular, everyday life. It’s waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee while watching the birds outside. Spending hours at a cute little cafe and being tempted into buying that huge slice of cake in the display case. Getting together with friends on a Friday night and gabbing all night long.
If you spend your days constantly worrying that something “could happen” because the world is “unpredictable”, you’re going to miss all the beautiful moments that make life truly worth living.
You’re right, the world is unpredictable, and something could happen. But worrying about it won’t change anything about the fact – it will just make you miserable.
Have faith. Trust me, the alternative is much worse. If you can’t accept the slight possibility of something going wrong, and you don’t believe that things will go right, you will suffer.
Related Article: 3 Life-Changing Realizations about Anxiety and Fear
Step 2 – Show gratitude
Showing gratitude is probably the closest thing we have to real life magic on this planet. It’s a simple practice that totally shifts your thinking from the bad to the good. It changes your perspective from “I don’t have…” to “I am so grateful that I have…”.
When we have anxiety, we too often focus on our problems, the things we lack, and all the things that we *think* would make our life better. “If only I had this” or “if only I had that”. These “if-only’s” are very dangerous. They warp your mind into believing that you would be happy and anxiety-free only if you had complete control over every aspect of your life and only if you could mold your life into exactly what you want it to be.
But we’re not Michealangelo, and we can’t go sculpting our life into a perfect specimen. Why?
Because we don’t have control over everything.
There are factors completely beyond your control that may be preventing you from having absolutely everything you “want” in your life – whether it’s a new car, a new body, or a new personality trait.
And this is where gratitude comes in.
What gratitude really comes down to is accepting things that come to you that you have no control over.
Accept your life the way it is.
It’s not perfect, but that’s okay, because you’d drive yourself insane trying to force every piece of your life together into a picture-perfect puzzle (hint: your life isn’t a puzzle that you have to solve – it’s more like a bouquet of wild flowers that you have to just appreciate).
You can’t control everything in your life. Therefore, being grateful for and accepting what you have is really the only rational solution – it will allow you to live a contented, calm, anxiety-free life.
Step 3 – Accept yourself
Self-acceptance means fully embracing every aspect of yourself – flaws, imperfections, and all. This may again sound like one of those things that’s easier said on paper than done in real life – but let me fill you in on a little secret as to why it’s actually VERY simple:
Because we are all human.
No human is completely perfect. By nature, humans make mistakes. We have weaknesses. This isn’t bad, this is just the way it is.
Remember: there are certain underlying factors that are just out of our control (like being human!). Only once you fully realize this will you be able to truly accept who you are. I mean, you can’t control that you’re human, can you?!
Keep in mind: there should be no conditions on our self-acceptance.
Many of us think that we would accept ourselves “if [fill in something here]”. This isn’t how it works though.
Once one area of our life gets “fulfilled”, we’ll just look for something else that needs “fulfilling”. And this creates a vicious cycle of never being satisfied and therefore NEVER fully accepting ourselves.
Working on improving yourself is a worthy goal, HOWEVER, you need to be realistic and realize that working on yourself will never completely erase all your flaws (because that would mean you’d no longer be a human – now go ahead and try to figure that one out!).
Related Article: Journaling for Self-Love When You Find it Hard to Love Yourself
Okay, now that you’re finished the article, if I were to say to you “you can’t control everything in you life!”, what would you think? Would it still be an anxiety-inducing statement?
It’s one thing to read a blog post about it, but it’s a whole other thing to actually practice training your mind into thinking differently. That’s why I’ve created my Anxiety handbook and all of my other free self-care resources (you can sign up to get them all at the bottom of this post!)
Final thoughts and reminders
It is impossible to control everything that happens in our lives or the world around us
Therefore, we need to reframe how we think about uncertainty by letting go of expectations and yearning
In order to do this, you must learn to have faith in the world, show gratitude, and accept yourself
If you want to learn more about how to let go of things in your life, you can sign up for my vault of free journal exercises and resources!