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How to free your inner control freak!

Hi I’m Natasha and I’m a control freak. Well not a total one where it’s affecting my life negatively, but enough where I know I need to chill out a bit sometimes and let people do things their own way. A control freak is defined as “someone who is determined to make things happen in exactly the way they want and who tries to make other people do what they want.” I think it stems from being the eldest of 4 children. When we were young, I used to be the one to organise me and my siblings, what games we’d play, when we’d move on to something else and when it was time to go back inside. As I’ve gotten older I’ve always been the one to organise things, to take control and make sure situations turn out the way I want them to.

But you know what, it’s draining! As much as most of us would want our own way in situations, it’s not healthy to be like that all the time for you, or anyone else involved. Back when I worked in London as a Producer I would find myself correcting my team’s work. Often they’d hand it to me and rather than me giving them constructive feedback and asking them to change it, I ended up changing it myself – it was easier, quicker and it would be done just the way I wanted it to be done. But the thing is, I had my own workload to do too, so ultimately I was suffering, my team weren’t learning anything from my actions and it was disempowering for them. When I do sometimes notice myself doing it nowadays, it generally involves my husband. He’s put too much oil on the roast potatoes or he hasn’t cleaned the bathroom the way I want him to. Thankfully for both of us, he stops me in my tracks, tells me to go away and that he will do it his way, not mine.

There’s definitely a big element of wanting things to be perfect, but as we all know, and as I keep telling my clients, there’s no such thing as perfection- it’s an illusion. Most people who dabble in meticulous planning or scheduling could be seeking solace amid chaos. And that’s totally understandable. But if you find that you can’t relax and rigidity is interfering with your everyday happiness (and your relationships), it may be time to take some steps toward freeing your inner control freak. Here are a few things you could do:

  • Ask yourself, what do you NEED someone to do and what do you WANT someone to do, and act honestly and accordingly.

  • Try and become aware of when you’re being controlling. Stop, really think and consider, "does this task have to be done my way, or can it be done a different way and the result will be equally as ok?".

  • Do one small thing a day that you’d normally want to control, but instead choose not to. Something like, don’t make your bed for a day, don’t put your dishes in the dishwasher or don’t correct an employee’s work when it’s just a style difference, or delegate someone to do a task you normally would do.

  • Start a hobby/ task that requires you to take direction or learn from others.

  • Practice controlling your emotions, rather than controlling everything around you. Build confidence in your ability to deal with discomfort—and practice accepting that not all things will go as planned.

With a concerted effort, you can regain control over yourself. And that can help you gain the inner peace you've been attempting to achieve by trying to control your environment.


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