Your Convoluted Sense of Control

We all believe we have control over our life, enough to make daily decisions to influence it for the better. But when we reach the extent of that control, have we learned to let go?

In the midst of the surrounding chaos many of us have found ourselves in quite a conundrum. With the lack of social interactions and external distractions, we are left to deal with what’s been eating away at our minds head-on.

There are things we can and cannot control in life. Many of us accept this to be true, yet our actions and mindsets show otherwise. Pandemics are one of those things we can’t control. Some of us are thriving during this quarantine, while some of us are just barely surviving. One of the “5 Thieves of Happiness” is the concept of control. When we try to control every outcome and every action, we are failing to embrace things as they are. Whether it’s a loss of income due to unemployment, loss of ways to burn off steam at the gym, or loss of those conversations when you need someone to vent to, you have started to feel like you’ve lost control of your emotional state, much less your life.

The reason why so many of us are upset is because we feel like we have lost controlโ€”control of stuff we never really had control over in the first place, and this proves it. This is your convoluted sense of control, and it’s time to dismiss your confused discernment.

It’s hard to deal with this lack of control, much less recognize it and work through it. Sufferance is said to be the result of human kind’s reluctance to embrace the inevitability of happenings. What’s the key? Acceptance is the secret to having peace of mind. Take action on the things you can control, such as taking care of your mind and body. Eat healthy, exercise, do something to stimulate your mind and soul.

However, my advice isn’t simply to recognize this lack of control, make a couple changes and move on with your life. If there’s anything I’ve learned during this quarantine it’s that it’s okay. It’s okay to be human and feel your feelings. They are warranted. You can’t control everything and it sucks. Wouldn’t life be so much better if we could? Well no, there in lies all the beauty of life’s journey. Although I’ve studied psychology and I know to an extent what my schema and ego are going through, it still remains a process you must accept and fully understand to be able to learn from.

Don’t feel ashamed by those “Productive Pattys” on social platforms giving you tips to be your most productive self while cooped up at home. Your emotional state of understanding is just thatโ€”yours.

You know what’s best for you? You know what’s best for you.

Listen to yourself. Listen to your intuition instead of succumbing to the endless numbing of social outings, happy hours and anything and everything else that distracts you from listening to what’s going on inside. Focus on what you can truly control, and surrender the rest to your journey and your process.

How are you dealing? What’s been getting you through this quarantine? Does anyone else feel the unnecessary pressure to be productive?

“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.”

Another shoutout to my mom for sending me this quote ๐Ÿ™‚ #MomsKnowBest

For a related article on how to get through the “boredom” of quarantine, I wrote this article about how to love the repetition of life:

My personal blog can be found here:

49 thoughts on “Your Convoluted Sense of Control

  1. I agree with you and I loved your post! This lack of control and everything that is going around, including the presence in social media is making us quite anxious. I loved the quote at the end๐Ÿ˜Š

  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I loved your thoughts on control vs embracing things as they are. Also loved “Acceptance is the secret to having peace of mind.” And, that it’s ok to be human and feel your feelings, and that this is all the beauty of life’s journey- and ultimately, focus inward to know what is right for you. All excellent points — glad I read your post, thank you!

    1. Hi Laura, thank you so much for your kind words of support! I’m honored to have brought some positivity to your day ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for reading, <3E

  3. I would definitely recommend the Enchiridion of Epictetus, it’s a free download if ebooks are your thing. It’s a good manual in living a life of personal freedom. In fact, the first paragraph in the book is about recognizing what can be controlled and what can’t and how one shouldn’t put too much stock on the things we can’t control. Speaking for myself, it helped give me serenity because I also came to realize that we sometimes have to accept life as it is.

    Speaking of Productive Patty’s, I think the one factor seem to miss is volition. Without volition, production is just an empty coping mechanism.

    1. That sounds like a great book and I’ll have to order it. I actually prefer hard copy books because I like the feel of the book in my hands and one less screen to look at for hours ๐Ÿ™‚ but that whole topic you mentioned is extremely fascinating to me and I’d love any more recommendations for books on self-development if you have any. To me, reading books is a great medium for thinking and learning about self growth and reflection because you can digest small chunks of the information each day, whereas a self help video tends to go in one ear and out the other. Let me know! Thanks, E

      1. Sure thing! As for the Enchiridion, it’s a small book in itself. It might even be cheaper to print the entire thing, lol!

        The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius is a favorite of mine. He was also a student Epictetus and considered one of the wisest emperors of Rome. You can read it from cover to cover in an afternoon, but to absorb the lessons is another matter.

        Aside from Greco-Roman Stoicism, one of my favorite self-development books of all time is “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie. It’s one book I was always find myself rereading.

  4. Acceptance of ‘what we can control’ is the key, as you point out. Everyone knows, that in any country, the country is controlled and governed by a few. A new policy can have multiple impacts on people’s lives. We can go out and rally in the streets, but 9/10 it won’t make a difference. So for that, let go and focus on what you can realistically control.

    Pre-COVID-19, people used to post images and stories of themselves on holiday or doing other wonderful things. They decided to keep their life public, the follower had a decision to follow/not to follow. Now in COVID-19 era, those same people are telling us of the wonderful things they are doing at home. Or telling others how they have helped the less fortunate. It seems we still haven’t learnt our lesson. Those that want the world to know, will keep on finding a way to push themselves out there. Don’t worry about that, look at your environment, your well-being and figure out what you can make of where you are. Something good always comes about!

    1. Hi potatosandwich, you brought up many good points. People who seek validation will continue to seek motivation, this hasn’t changed. What also hasn’t changed is our ability whether to listen or not. The beauty of most social media is the ability to follow or not follow. The decision to only follow accounts who bring positivity and light into your life really can make or break your day, not to mention the concept of unplugging for a few days a week. And in your last point I really agree with that the most–there is always something to make out of where we are. There is always some light to see. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Such a great read – this is something that’s been on my mind a lot, as I’m living with my mum who has severe anxiety about the lack of control in this pandemic. I, on the other hand, a chronic over-thinker, am relishing this time when options have been taken away from me. I can simply be.

    1. Wow, such a beautiful realization you have come to! I, too, also overthink and have seen the positive and negative impacts during this quarantine. Yes, there’s a lot less to overthink, but that side of me still wants to overthink and my schema just picks something to overthink, even more useless than before. Thanks for reading and best of luck to you and your mum, I’m glad you can be there for her and vice versa. <3E

  6. Letting go of one’s attachment to things, ideas, cravings, and outdated beliefs is very Buddhist and thus very healthy. When simplicity is forced on us, we see more, feel more, learn more, and grow more.

    1. I’ve always loved simplicity and dismissing the mindset of the endless want for more. To me, beauty is in the simple things, the small things, which can be so easily overlooked. I’ve meditated every day during this quarantine and have found it very helpful. On that note, do you have any book recommendations for Buddhism I might be interested in reading?

  7. So true! I really struggle with the idea of not having control over things in my life. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve felt the pressure to be productive at home during this pandemic, because I know that what I do with my time nowadays is something I CAN control. But you’re right, I need to remind myself that it’s ok to feel whatever I’m feeling instead of burying it in productivity. I know that I’m someone who needs to keep busy to some degree because that makes me happiest, but at the same time I need to remember to have some quiet and self-acceptance as well. For me it’s all about balance!

    1. Yes I relate to this so much! I do feel my best to be productive but the overwhelming pressure to be that sometimes makes me so unmotivated. The best we can do is to work to understand ourselves a little more every day, and listen to ourselves as well. Balance is key and sometimes a break is needed! Thanks for commenting I’m glad someone else feels the same as me ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. In answer to your questions: I’m focusing on thanksgiving and the Lord God who is in control. He is my peace. He teaches me through His word not to worry about things but simply trust His goodness and faithfulness.

  9. Excellent analysis.

    To your question. I’m focused more on writing poetry, listening to music, and watching good educational movies.
    Every since the pandemic I’ve been blocking out anything about the situation. All focus is on music, poetry, and films. And occasionally working out. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey Charlie! Ugh, I love that! I used to read the news every morning but now it’s too negative to start my morning off like that. I’ve been relying on reading some good books that have helped focus my mind on something else. Do you have any educational movies you could recommend to me? ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Of course. Have you seen the movie ‘Tree of life’? A Terrence Malick film. It’s the most beautiful and spiritually awakening movies I’ve ever seen. It’s good. I can’t think of anything in mind but I’ll get back to you soon.

        P.S Hope you don’t mind…I’m currently following your page. Hope you follow my page and read some of my poetry. Heads up, its experimental but fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. I think I’ve heard of that movie before as it seems familiar but I’ll watch add it to my playlist! And thank you I checked out your page too and I’m a huge fan of poetry so I look forward to reading more of what you write. I write poetry myself too but I never feel good enough about it to post it so hopefully reading more of it will urge me to publish some too ๐Ÿ™‚

      3. Trust me…its a beautiful cinematic movie. ๐Ÿ™‚

        You are welcome.

        You should post some of your poetry. You’d be surprised how many poets here on ‘WordPress’ love poetry that comes from the heart and soul. I would love to read some of your poetry. Well, whenever you feel ready to post. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the follow. And hope you enjoy reading some of my experimental weird poetry. ๐Ÿ™‚ I post new poems ‘Mondays’ & ‘Wednesdays’.

      4. Thanks Charlie for the kind words! I will put some time towards finishing some poems because I would really love to share it too start getting it out there. Have a great Sunday!

      5. Thank you thank you! I actually was super inspired and decided to post my first one that I just published ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for your inspiration!

  10. Oh the C word!!! Thats a huge struggle for me. CPTSD adds fuel to the fire, and the biggest thing I can do is pray and call my Sponser. (Celebrate recovery) I try to talk myself down-I like how you put it. We think we move on, but we donโ€™t. I pick it back up all the time. Iโ€™m trying to remember that the control is not mine and I WILL be ok. Great post!!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing and I feel like I can totally relate to you. It’s like I know I shouldn’t try to control everything, but still it’s a daily struggle to have that mindset. But nevertheless, we will be okay! 2 steps forward and even 3 back is okay if we learn from it! Hope you are taking care out there!! <3E

  11. I totally agree that people would be much less stressed if they would focus more on what they can control while learning to accept that they can’t control everything. And also that it’s healthy to check in with yourself frequently and get in touch with your own thoughts and feelings. However, I have to say that my experience of the pressure to be productive has been very different. Personally, I’ve only found it to be a very positive thing.
    I’d even say that one of the best things to come out of this pandemic has been seeing so many people taking on personal projects, learning new skills, getting creative to find new ways of working and connecting, and sharing those things to inspire others to do the same. It’s not about shaming, just people trying to find the good in an otherwise bad situation.
    So, I wouldn’t be too hard on the “Productive Pattys”. I think that mostly these are people trying to be helpful and spread positivity, same as you, only they feel it best to do it through sharing their personal breakthroughs and/or projects they’re excited about. I hope it continues! (The positivity, obviously, not the pandemic).
    Great article (also, I really like that quote your mom sent). Take care ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Jonathan, thank you for your insightful comment and sharing your thoughts on this experience. I definitely agree lots of people are sharing their productivity out of the goodness of their hearts. It can just be difficult for those who don’t have the same volition and to be productive without that is kind of counterproductive, as listening to yourself is key. Thanks for sharing! Ellen

  12. I started with the idea that I had to make this quarantine a really productive time. But then, I listened to myself and saw that I also wanted to rest. Now, I am getting used to resting:)

    1. Totally agree! I’m so glad you listened to yourself because forcing yourself to be productive when you don’t genuinely feel that way just leads to more problems down the road. Cheers to a peaceful and relaxing weekend!

  13. โ€œIt was never mine to carry …. so I set it down.โ€ LoveYouEllie๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ™๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ™

  14. You almost touch on one my favourite topics here โ€ฆ free will or more accurately the lack of it.

    Yes, asking what we can control and responding to that is fine. But if we look at what do we in actual fact control is interesting. Especially if we look inwards. Do we control the chemistry that leads to our thoughts and actions? Do our thoughts actually do anything?

    1. Youโ€™ve touched on a very deep part of psychology here. From a scientific standpoint, we donโ€™t physically control the chemistry in our brains that lead us to make decisions. However, our minds are still so powerful that we can make ourselves believe we do control that, thus the ability to control our minds (desires, actions, etc.), thoughts are something totally different. This is why psychology interests me so much because our minds are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for most of the time. Anyways, Iโ€™d like to hear more of your thoughts on this subject! Thanks for sharing, El

  15. You’ve touched on a very deep part of psychology here. From a scientific standpoint, we don’t physically control the chemistry in our brains that lead us to make decisions. However, our minds are still so powerful that we can make ourselves believe we do control that, thus the ability to control our minds (desires, actions, etc.), thoughts are something totally different. This is why psychology interests me so much because our minds are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for most of the time. Anyways, I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on this subject! Thanks for sharing, El

  16. “When we try to control every outcome and every action, we are failing to embrace things as they are” that is so true! Lovely post!!

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