Many people come to my practice complaining that they want to be less controlling and more relaxed, they want to be able to just go with the flow, rather than have a schedule for everything. They feel as though life is passing them by and they are stuck on a conveyor belt that seems to be speeding up, so that time flies by and they feel as though life has lost its meaning. They have many competing demands and limited resources of time and energy.
In order to avoid or at least minimize overwhelm they create structure and order. They control their environment and break it down into digestible pieces. Unfortunately, that often includes controlling others and needing others to be a certain way to fit into their structure.
The problem is we start to create boxes for things; we make the boxes too rigid and tight, this becomes suffocating and those around us start to feel strangled and like they can’t just relax and be themselves.
We create the structure like a scaffolding to keep us from seeing what’s really going on underneath, often we have unmet needs or residual feelings, fears or grief that we are desperately trying to avoid. Controlling everything keeps us busy, distracted from our pain and our real selves, controlling our loved ones also keeps us separate, we fail to see them for who they are, instead staying lost in who we need them to be.
Structure, routine and order provide an anchor, a place that we can rely on when everything around us is changing. Interestingly feeling out of control is something most of us fear, and the more chaotic and hectic life becomes the more we try to rein it in and create control. Of course this is impossible, life is a great unknown and there are many things outside of our control; just knowing this can make some of us twitch. The secret is to take charge of what you can, create a structure, a schedule that supports you in your daily life and that enables you to meet your demands. Within that structure; acknowledge life, that it is uncertain and that it unravels spontaneously and importantly acknowledge the individuals around you.
Most of us thrive with structure and order, as long as there is a balance of time to just be. Find the middle ground between being so structured you can’t breathe and disorganized chaos, you may need to play with it and allow it to evolve and change as life does.