Control Freak!

I saw an old college friend at a wedding not long ago, and he said he’d been told he was a “control freak.” He didn’t know what that meant, so he looked it up and discovered that that’s exactly what he was! I laughed and said that I’m a Virgo with two math degrees and tight hamstrings, so I know this pattern well. The good news, though, is that it’s only a pattern. It’s not who you are.

I know it can be shocking to see something in yourself that you don’t like. You can’t do anything about it unless you first see it, though, so I say bring it on. No time like the present. And of course we aren’t really in control of the timing of things anyway, so we might as well not resist it.

So let’s say you’re aware of a pattern in yourself that you don’t like. What next? It’s time to bust yourself. Busting yourself just means stopping when you notice it. Wake up for a second, take a breath, and let go of what you’re carrying in that moment. Remind yourself that this is just that pattern – this is what it looks like in action. Then either continue doing it or not, but at least you’re awake now. Most of the time, people aren’t even aware in the moment that they’re engaging in their various patterns.

Note that there’s nothing inherently wrong with a pattern. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, though, then it’s time to start noticing it. In the moment in which you notice it in action, you have a choice where there was no choice before. You used to be asleep and now you’re waking up. And if you choose to continue to engage in it, at least tell the truth about what’s going on. Drop the guilt and self-criticism, though. Either do the pattern or don’t. If you stop making a problem out of it, then it’s easier to let it drop away anyway.

The Sedona Method book gets into some pretty deep stuff involving habits and patterns. First of all, they have you notice any resistance associated with the habit, welcome it, and then let go of it. If I’m acting controlling and I don’t like that about myself, then noticing it might make me feel bad right away. If I beat myself up on top of that, though, then I’ve doubled my pain. Sweet. This is the resistance. If we let go of the resistance, then the pattern is easier to accept and then change or not.

Going deeper, the Sedona Method looks at the underlying wants associated with the habit or pattern. They boil it down to wanting approval, security, control, or separation. When we release on these things, it can be quite powerful.

So don’t worry if there’s a pattern you don’t like. First, accept that it’s there and don’t make a huge problem out of it, because that keeps it stuck. And remind yourself that you can’t do anything about it if you’re not aware of it. Then bust yourself. And reading The Sedona Method might be a relatively cheap and easy way to go really deep with it. Working on resistance and the underlying wants can be pretty mind blowing. As always, let me know if I can help.