I’ve realised that I’ve unconsciously stepped away from some of the guiding thoughts I try to live by – mantras, if you will. A friend reminded me. We were having a conversation about being in control versus being in charge – there’s quite a difference.
Picture in control as a person – an uptight, rigid individual, focusing on all the elements in their life in detail so that they remain in order and play out as desired. Perhaps they’re quite agitated, tired, a little cagey at times. I’ve been this person a number of times – when looking for a new job, moving apartment, or developing relationships. And sometimes, that minute focus really pays off.
But when it doesn’t, when things don’t go to plan, when the in control person’s expectations aren’t met, they can come crashing down, depending on the scenario. It can feel like a tumbleweed of ‘the world’s against me’ when expectations don’t meet reality.
The in charge person is softer, calmer. They exude a sense of organised and ‘right where I need to be’. Of course, they too have expectations, wants, needs and desires. But their outlook is different – they accept that life is a flow of events and moments unfolding and that sometimes it feels like it isn’t going to plan when things don’t happen as expected or hoped for.
I’ve been this person too. Getting hit with an unexpected or unwanted blow – some heavy, others light changes of course. And when I’ve let go of my unmet expectation of how it was meant to be, I’ve always found it easier to move forward, even in the shitty situations. Not necessarily picking myself up and dusting off the very next day – time and processing is important – but taking on the mindset that life is a flow and I have the choice to embrace it, be grateful and trust in divine timing.
Being in charge is about letting go (and remembering that you always have a choice about how to react to any situation).
Being in control is forceful, unforgiving, unwilling (sometimes it might even just be learned behaviour…how we’ve seen others feel and react to similar situations to what we find ourselves in).
Maybe letting go involves going inward first, or tackling a situation head on that perhaps you’d sidelined or packed away as too difficult or painful to confront – before being able to rid yourself of thinking about it, trying to understand it over and over and control what someone else thinks, feels, says, does and how it impacts you. Other times its experiencing a situation as it unfolds, being aware, and trying to move gracefully with it, understanding that whether you realise it or not, it came your way as a sort of necessary stepping-stone to what’s next.
It’s worth pointing out here that I certainly don’t mean life should be something we just ride through passively, without chasing our desires actively and going for what it is that we want in life. See the ever-eccentric Jason Silva’s thoughts on this one.
(There’s another video of his I can’t find that highlights this more clearly – essentially, while yoga and meditation and ‘clean living’ and all the more mindful, trending extra-curricular stuff is great (of which much I subscribe to) and you totally could and should do it, don’t look at those activities as the whole ‘letting go’ landscape – you still have to try, you still have to be and do.) It just might not all pan out the way you expected – but it will go down as it should.
As my friend and I discussed in control versus in charge, I struck an instant parallel to Power vs. Force. (Fascinating, if not slightly too-many-layered for me, read – but nonetheless very impactful).
“Power serves others, whereas force is self-serving.” – David R. Hawkins.