As a Psychotherapist, increasing your sense of control is one of the most important goals of psychotherapy.
My work with patients is built upon the ultimate goal to increase your abilities to solve your problems rather than to solve them for you.
My clinical practice aims to increase your control by helping you “take control” of situations- at least in most cases, because there are exceptions.
In reality, there are limits to how much control you actually have in any situation. For example, we cannot fully control other people’s reactions; what they think of us. We cannot prevent specific thoughts from occurring, and we cannot actively make ourselves fall asleep.
Those situations highlight the paradox of surrender. The only way to enhance personal control is by letting go of control. Instead of trying to controlling the uncontrollable, surrender involves noticing that there is nothing you CAN do to change the situation.
Many people confuse surrender with giving up, but surrender is not about giving up. When there is nothing you can do to change a given situation, this does not mean that you cannot deal with the situation effectively. You may still deal with the emotions that result from the experience, reframe the meaning of the situation, or engage in other activities to cope with the consequences of the situation.
Gaining an accurate understanding of the possibilities and limits of control is the key to developing a “healthy ” level of personal control. Accepting the reality about the limits of your control allows you to invest time and energy in actions that lie within the spheres of personal control and avoid wasting time on activities that are not in your control.