An exercise in not being in control

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I like to feel that I am “in control” of the situation I am in. I want to feel that I only depend on myself and my own efforts and actions. When I feel I have no control, it can be quite stressful, frustrating and even scary. One such example is traveling in an airplane. I am no pilot, the airplane is traveling very fast at a very high altitude and I can’t even see what is in front of the airplane – so my body and my life is completely in the hands of airplane crew and the technology and structure of the machine itself. This is one of the main reasons I don’t like flying.

As I have mentioned on this blog, I have “practiced” hapkido a couple of times with my wife and it has been both a lot of fun and very interesting. But those hapkido demonstrations were also a situations when I felt I had no control, which made me feel uncomfortable and frustrated. After all, no matter how hard I tried, there was very little I could do to stop her from throwing me, putting me on the floor, bending my joints and tying my limbs up in knots with a seemingly endless array of techniques.

Of course part of my frustration came from the simple fact that by nature I’m a pretty competitive guy and I was getting my butt handed to me by my wife, in spite of being significantly bigger and stronger than her. But my negative feelings also had a lot to do with me being put in a position of “powerlessness” where I was not at all in control. Even though of course she didn’t (and never would), it was obvious that with just a little more pressure and by following through on the hapkido techniques, she could very easily have inflicted serious pain and injuries on me. One could say that my body and my life is in the hands of my wife – a bit like the airplane situation.

The other week, one of my best female friends pointed out to me that this could actually be a good opportunity for me to practice my ability to not feel the need to be in control all the time. I think she really has a point. After all there are a lot of things in life we can’t control. We all need to accept that. Most ot the time, it’s a good idea to just stay calm and not let the situation get to you, even if you can’t control it. Put things in perspective – is it really so serious/bad/dangerous? Ride with the flow of life and put some trust and faith in other people!

3 thoughts on “An exercise in not being in control

  1. TMP

    Wise friend. Jack Canfield’s success principle #1 that I remind myself regularly: separation of what we can and cannot control. We cannot lament what we cannot control but we can analyze the situation to figure out what is within our own power to do. Like the ladies in Egypt learning martial arts.

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  2. Pingback: The sexual side of “reversed” gender roles | My Wife is a Black belt

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