We’ve all experienced “out of character” moments that we are less than proud of.
The moments where we lose control, unleash our demons and we truly go crazy.
Maybe it was alone, maybe it was with a friend or partner or maybe even a stranger or a pet. Chances are, everyone understands and can relate to the complete and utter shame and guilt that surges through our being after an episode of losing control.
The question is, why is losing control a bad thing and why do we attach so much judgment, guilt and shame around the concept of ‘losing control’ (or put simply, why do we love being control freaks?).
When you go into the depths of what control is, it becomes clear that control is a mechanism of safety; a behavior and choice that humans make to keep us alive. It answers the fear of death. The assumption is that if we are in control, we are no longer afraid of dying. We are safe.
As with many innate responses to “fight or flight,” humans are more than just physical beings. We have complex minds. We have deep and intricate souls. So being in control does more to us than just keep us alive. It penetrates more than just our bodies.
So what happens when we lose control?
The thing is, our conditioning has wired us to attack ourselves after one of these moments, rather than to practice compassion and understanding. Instead of feeling sadness and love towards yourself after losing control—the status quo is to unwind into a complete sense of judgment and hatred, asking questions like “why did I do that?”, “how could I do that?” and “what was I thinking?”
Negativity and judgment are major components of our conditioning. More often than not, you will resort to these forms of coping and management, rather than positive representations of love.
Last night, I experienced a complete loss of control with my partner and myself.
The thing is, the episode actually had as little to do with what was actually happening as you can imagine. Instead, it was almost completely about the events preceding this moment, which occurred over the Christmas weekend, and probably days, weeks, months and years beforehand.
What actually ends up happening in these situations is that we push emotions, experiences and energy down—in order to function in our world, and be our closest form of perfect. Instead of staying down, or moving towards the ground and disintegrating—these emotions, experiences and energies don’t go anywhere, but eventually up. They sit, fester and build. It’s just a matter of time. Before an explosion and/or eruption takes place. And that is just what happened.
Instead of being able to manage the stress of the Dubai immigration line with rational behavior, I began a rant of negativity about where I live, why I live there and how annoyed I am with the world. This conversation gradually built to a full-blown story around my frustration with everything and anything in my way.
The rest of the story you probably already know. I picked a fight with my partner, and it manifested into a piece of me (and him) that is not real, true or how we like to see ourselves. Our ugly sides came out, and we not only said things that we do not mean, but we also acted in a manner that can only be summed up as childish or insane.
When I woke up the next morning, all I wanted to do was to sit and indulge in the pain. I began to build a story around how what I had done will now begin a turn in events to ruin my life. I feared driving my partner away, making him hate me and ending up alone.
The story got stronger and louder as I begin to believe the underlying story, which is that I am not worthy of love and that no one can ever truly, unconditionally and wholly love me. The surface stories of hatred and betrayal shadow over this foundational belief; I will end up alone and die alone.
So what do we do? Where do you turn when you feel such deep pain and helplessness, as if you have just done the thing that will ruin your life forever?
Although it may not seem or feel like it, there is a choice. There is some space to carve another path. There is another way.
The key is to recognize what you are going through in the moment and to allow it to be there, without fighting or resisting it. Understand that our egos are here for a reason and can help us in many ways; however, at this moment; it needs to take a back seat.
Place love and compassion in the driver seat and follow these five steps to recover and rebalance:
1. Choose compassion and love over judgment and destruction.
When it comes to making mistakes, disappointing yourself and/or others and doing something outside of what you look at as acceptable—the easiest thing to do is to go into attack and begin judging yourself. The reason it is easiest, is because it is a part of our conditioning. Self-empowerment, self-love, acceptance and compassion are all a part of a new muscle that is still quite small and weak, in comparison to the well-rehearsed saboteur muscle of the ego. The trick is to practice. Practice makes perfect. Every time you have a mean thought, add in two nice thoughts. Use affirmations. Change the story. Practice, practice, practice.
2. Reach out to a spiritual/intuitive friend and/or mentor.
We cannot always be our own best friends. Sometimes, we need a little help from a friend (as the song goes). Whether your resources is a close friend or family member or a complete outsider and mentor—have someone that you can go to who can pull you out of the hole when you get too deep. This is someone who knows you, is honest and truthful, and who ideally has an intuitive connection.
3. Recognize the energy that was released and understand how difficult it must’ve been for your being/body to harbor it for so long—practice self forgiveness.
Depending on how ‘in control’ you are, losing control can vary in depth and intensity. So instead of attacking yourself for how much you lose control, instead, recognize how much has been building and how much your body, mind and soul have been carrying. Anxiety, stress and expression are all forms of energy, and they must come from somewhere! Be mindful of this.
4. Understand that fighting and resisting your ways is not a long-term solution.
Fighting and resisting is another form of pushing down or avoiding. It doesn’t make it go away and it most definitely does not solve anything. Instead of going into a story of rejection or denial, recognize what continues to come up and allow it to be there. Notice when you have a tendency to attach to it, build stories around it and generally move away, against or towards it. The key is to not move and to just be.
5. Get outside of your head and say goodbye to story-time.
We all have a tendency to want to stay inside our heads and create stories around what happened, why it happened and what it all means. Stories are meant to be stories—they are not the truth and they are not what is actually going on. Most of the time, stories are built upon the past or future and that is where they shall remain. A little self-indulgence never hurt anyone, but it can be a slippery and seductive slope. Be wary of playing victim and staying in the deep, dark and cozy hole of suffering—it doesn’t help anyone and is not a place to live.
It’s important to practice ways of getting outside of your thoughts and instead allowing them to be what they are; thoughts. Our minds are beautiful machines, but they are not all that we are. Use your mind as a tool to help you and support you—not to over power you and hurt you.
So get outside, write, speak to someone, meditate, breath, cook, eat, sing—go live!
Author: Chloe Elgar
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Photo: Author’s own // Kevin Young/Unsplash