My family gets a good chuckle from a particular memory of my potty training days. My mom would try to get me to go poo on the potty, but I refused. I liked them diapers, dammit. One day, she found me taking a squat in the corner of the front porch.
Yup. Hence the invention of the Poo Porch. (Not really… it’s patent pending.)
Now, I’m sure we all have similar stories from our potty training days (No? Just me? Okay, suuuuuuuuuure…), but I thought this would be a good example of how we human beings may try to over-control things. It is a particular struggle if you’re like me and have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Whenever I feel like I’ve lost control, my heart sinks, I feel like I’m drowning, I panic, and apparently I poop on the porch…
Here’s the thing: you can’t control everything. Period. You may think you have that kind of mental power, but you don’t. And if you really think about it that way, it’s kind of a relief. (Sometimes… other times, it feels like your world is crumbling.)
What Happens When You Think You Control Everything? Shit Hits the Fan
Here’s what goes down when you won’t let your bacon be at peace and refuse to let go of control…
You Start to Believe Bad Things Happen Because of You
There’s nothing worse than believing everything is your fault. It’s obviously terrible for your self-esteem, and it makes you feel like you’re spiraling into a terrible human being when bad things happen.
For example, I’ve mentioned before the baby sister I lost when I was 10. I was convinced that the reason we lost her was because I hadn’t prayed or believed hard enough that she would live. I thought somehow it had been in my control, and that I had failed.
It’s one of the worst feelings in the world.
You Always Feel Like You’re Missing Out
There’s a place near my apartment where I like to chill. It’s like my version of Cheers. I know everyone there, they know me, and I’ve grown some of the best friendships I’ll ever have there.
However, I’m trying super hard to shake the belief that I’m missing out or that people are talking negatively about me if I’m not there ALL THE TIME. I feel like I have to control my reputation there by being present for every conversation, otherwise people will start to realize that they really don’t like me there at all.
You can’t control what other people do or say. You’re only responsible for your own lane. Focus on you in the present moment, wherever you are, and trust that the only thing that matters is your truth; there is no truth outside of your own that you need to keep track of. Everyone has his or her own truth. Focus on your own, and find peace in the fact that you don’t have to control what people are doing or saying when you’re not around.
You’re Anxious All the Time
As you can imagine, you get very anxious trying to function under the belief that you have to control everything all the time. You’re constantly worried about overlooking one minor detail that you believe can set into motion a whole slew of negative events. You’re always thinking, overthinking, analyzing, projecting, and agonizing until you wanna slam your head into a revolving door…
Basically, your nerves are shot and you’re just mentally exhausted all the time.
You Become a Bitter Perfectionist
When you try to control everything, you become easily frustrated with people and circumstances when they don’t go according to plan. You want everything to be perfect, and when you see others functioning happily with control-free mindsets, you become resentful. You feel obligated to continue your perfectionist, controlling ways, and yet all you want is peace.
Your Self-Esteem Goes Down When Things Don’t Go the Way You Expect
You may have heard of the term “upset” used in reference to the feeling you get when things violate your expectations. Trying to control everything makes it impossible to accept people, circumstances, and events as they are, so you frequently experience upsets. Upsets really hurt your self-esteem, because, again, you feel like it’s your fault when things don’t meet your expectations.
You Try to Control How People Perceive You
You’re constantly jumping through hoops, trying to please everyone and predict their reactions to everything you do when you think you have to control everything.
You lose yourself, instead of allowing yourself to be true-bacon YOU. Then you get extremely depressed when you feel like you aren’t being perceived the way you want to. It’s a constant spiral of disappointment, because that’s what happens when you try to be someone you’re not just to please people.
You Become Overly Competitive With Others
Being out of touch with your bacon places you in constant competition with others, because you start to envy them for being so in touch with theirs. You easily resent people, which makes it difficult to be kind, which ain’t cool, bro.
Here’s the Thing: You Need to Accept Things As They Are
I thought my boyfriends’ gaslighting and emotionally abusive behavior was my fault, so I kept doing things to try to MAKE them like me; to change ME accordingly. Everyone warned me and told me it wasn’t anything I could change. Those guys were bad eggs and I needed to accept that. They were assholes, plain and simple.
But I was in denial. If they were assholes, I was convinced it was my fault. I figured I would keep changing approaches until something finally worked to make myself worthy of their respect.
That never happened. And I was miserable.
Maybe there is someone out there who they will treat better someday. But that didn’t mean I was doing anything wrong while I was dating them. (Not that I was perfect, by any means… Definitely not.)
As much as it used to bother me whenever anyone said this particular phrase to me, here it goes: it is what it is. There are some things that are just out of your control, and you’ll feel so much more at peace once you get used to accepting that. Let yourself feel the relief from knowing you don’t have to change anything about yourself in order to force a different outcome.
Sometimes, it may mean that you won’t be able to get closure. *Shudder* That’s the hardest part for me. I don’t like to end things when it feels like there are so many unanswered questions. Like “Was he really the gaslighter, or was I the emotional abuser?” Or, “If I had done it THIS way, would we still be dating and would he like me better?”
I don’t like living with regrets. So sometimes, I exercise poor judgement and exhaust every possible approach to something before I finally let it go. What I have to accept is this: I can’t change people and I can’t change the past. I can’t control people’s reactions to me or what I say and do. Some things just ARE. So be true-bacon you, and accept whatever comes with it.
And if you gotta take a porch poo, at least save it for the porch of someone you hate. (Jk… Kinda.)