I always tried to control everything. Life got so messy if I didn’t. Love. Work. Play. Everything.
I learned very young about control. I had to, it was an essential survival tactic. If I controlled what I thought, how I behaved, and how I felt, I got along just fine. On the rare occasion when my emotions got the better of me, they were smacked back down into their place.
That’s how things were.
In time, control became part of my persona. In truth, it became my protective shell. If I didn’t feel in control, things started to unravel inside me in ways that I couldn’t deal with. I can’t explain it, but not being in control opened a door to an awful mess that I wasn’t equipped to deal with at the time.
I became very task oriented, because tasks were something I could control. People, less so! I did my best not to hurt people… unless they stood between me and getting a task done. Then I would bulldoze their feelings off to the side and keeping moving forward. I wasn’t proud of my behaviour. That’s how it was.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, fear held me in its grip. I was afraid of the world — it had always felt such an unsafe place to me. And, because of that, I didn’t feel I could trust. Anyone. Anything. Myself included. So I had to control, to try to force things to happen.
And that was a total disaster.
I got more and more controlling, and more and more unhappy and stressed out. Until one day, when I imploded. I was so utterly exhausted from all the effort I was putting into controlling. I was so utterly empty inside from living without trust.
When you hit rock bottom, you have a choice. You can either numb the pain, hoping it will go away. Or you can make sure it goes away by making some changes in your life. I chose the latter, despite knowing that my changes had to be radical. And I knew exactly where to start.
With trust. I had to start trusting. Myself. Others. The universe.
I started with my friends, by asking them for help when I needed it. This was me trusting that they wouldn’t drop me as a friend, thinking I was weak for needing help. Yeah, I know. Baby steps.
When this felt safe, I moved on to people in general. First, I stopped apologising all the time. For saying things I believed. For being in someone’s way. For being unwilling to do things I didn’t want to do.
Next, I stopped being defensive. I had a right to hold an opinion, and it didn’t have to be the same as someone else’s. Other people also had a right to hold an opinion I didn’t share.
Then I started accepting compliments. Saying “Thank you”, and meaning it. That meant no more detracting from compliments by saying something to devalue them. Such as “In this old rag? I’ve had it for years!” or “Oh, this wasn’t really my work, X helped me with it.”
And then, I reached the point where I was OK with people I trusted being untrustworthy. By being OK with it, I mean it didn’t send me scurrying back into my protective control shell. I learned my lesson from each incident, but remained in trust mode. The overarching lesson I learned was that I wasn’t protecting myself well. By asking lots more questions before making decisions, I fixed that.
The final frontier was trusting myself. Trusting my instincts. Trusting my wisdom. Trusting my skills. Trusting that I am enough. Trusting that I am worthy… of happiness, of help, of trust, of love.
As I worked through this, I discovered something about trusting myself. That it’s entwined with trusting the universe. I couldn’t trust that the universe had my back unless I trusted that I deserved it.
You see it all goes back to love. Self-love.
You cannot trust with your whole heart unless you love with your whole heart.
And when you finally do trust — and love — with your whole heart, magic happens. Magic that you could never conjure up yourself.
The unimaginable happens.
★ Doors open that you didn’t even know were there.
★ ‘Coincidences’ happen that confirm the direction you should take.
★ Your tribe starts to form around you, united by the positive, not the negative.
★ You feel energised by life, even when challenges come your way… which they always will.
★ You feel compassion for people who aren’t like you — feelings of fear and judgement subside.
★ You wake up excited about the day ahead.
★ You go to sleep grateful for the day you had.
★ Your heart sings.
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Sarah Blick is Well-Being Wizard and Life Coach at Aging Disgracefully Well. Sarah has the rare combination of unparalleled life experience and serious business expertise. She spent 28 years as a game-changer in senior marketing roles internationally, including a couple working directly with Richard Branson at Virgin, and four as a life transformer in coaching and mentoring roles. Alongside her successful career, Sarah relentlessly pursued another passion: understanding why, despite having everything, she felt as though something was missing from her life. This pursuit led her to experience more life changes than most people experience in three lifetimes, many of them very challenging. By the time she found what was missing, Sarah had completely transformed her life and lifestyle. Today, she is fit, healthy, happy and fulfilled — and aging disgracefully well. Her successful career and personal transformation have helped her develop what she considers to be three of her superpowers: exceptional courage, uncommon resilience, fearless action-taking. These now sit alongside her instinctive qualities of compassion, leadership, and tenacity, to enable her to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
She works with exceptional people who have everything in life… except for the meaning they crave. They know they’ve been settling, not living fully, but don’t know how to change that. She helps them access what they need to make this change, and prepares them to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
In her personalized signature programme, Your Lifestyle Rehab™, Sarah gives her clients what they need to overhaul their lifestyle. To enable them to start living fully — as their best self, and making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Your Lifestyle Rehab™ is designed with her best self — the expertise she developed in her high-level business career and the life lessons she learned in her 30-year quest for a life with meaning — PLUS the latest thinking from the fields of neuroscience, aging and psychology. This powerful combination is capable of delivering transformative results, leaving her clients ready for the life they’ve only dreamed of until now. And that’s what aging disgracefully well is all about. To schedule an exploratory chat, contact Sarah today.
Originally published at medium.com