In the picture below most people will see a face in the random placement of the rocks while disregarding the rest of the structure. We tend to seek patterns and carve out order from random situations and may ignore parts that don’t fit into a pattern.
Similarly, we may tend to ignore or explain away these features of ourselves that don’t fit our self-concept. We often have a hard time acknowledging the entirety of who we are, negating parts of ourselves which could be helpful in teaching us something new about us. As writer Anais Nin wisely stated: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are."
For example, if we are bothered by the actions of a friend, we may automatically blame our friend for what we perceive as misbehavior, or perhaps immediately berate ourselves for not acting as we “should” have. Instead, we could be open to view the situation more realistically, and recognize with empathy a weakness of our own or understand a new perspective on the situation.
Looking at things with inflexibility overuses control and prevents us from reexamining our patterns and self-image. It may work in the short term but over long periods of time it results in undue stress.
These thoughts and feelings resulting from self-set rigid rules for what we “should” do, what we “should “feel, and what the world “should’ be like, become bottled up inside of us. Eventually, we buckle under the load and crash.
Although Control is fundamentally a beneficial human activity, an overly controlling mindset may result in much pain.
As a result of rigidity and over-control, we may feel:
- Isolated and rejected
- Disconnected from people
- Resentful after taking on too many responsibilities
- Requiring perfection from ourselves and others
All of which may result in anxiety and depression.
Therapy is a great way to address over control. In therapy, utilizing evidence-based strategies I empower my clients to:
- Feel authentic
- Accept being good enough
- Learn empathy-based communication with self and others
- Own our accomplishments.
- Celebrate our talents.
I work with the natural ambition and striving of the individual, enabling the client to actualize goals with energy and focus while experiencing a joyful and meaningful life.