A Journey Towards Connection
Like all kids, I had little control of my environment. That would be okay if our environments were safe and supportive – but they rarely are. So, I attempted to control what little I could. This is a common pattern. We often build walls of control around us in our quest for security and predictability. It’s our way of attempting to shape our internal and external environments. The unfortunate side effect? We disconnect from our bodies, our emotions, and others. We trap ourselves in a fortress of our own making.
Fast forward to my adult life. I continued to exercise control but I started realizing its downside. The awareness began with a stark realization at work. In a room full of people, in a meeting where I was speaking, I felt utterly alone. I recognized that I was holding my experience, my authenticity, hostage to the fear of vulnerability. My self-imposed fortress had turned into a prison of loneliness.
When I started risking showing up authentically in my first men’s groups, I took the first steps towards change. I began connecting more genuinely to myself and, in turn, to others. I found myself transforming from a rigid controller to a spontaneous participant of life. To my surprise, I became more fun, more engaged. I was trading control for authenticity.
In the process, I drew inspiration from the wisdom of Indian philosopher Krishnamurti. He once told his followers, “This is my secret; I don’t mind what happens”. The essence of his secret lay not in disconnection, but in profound connection. He was so intertwined with life that he could let go of attachment to outcomes. I began to resonate with his philosophy. I committed to showing up as my authentic self, irrespective of the outcome. I did not always get what I wanted; but invariably, I experienced the growth I needed.
Challenging myself to share more, to let others in a bit more every day was terrifying, but it was also liberating. It’s a daunting task to face your fears, to open yourself up to the possibility of rejection or loss. It requires confronting uncomfortable truths about yourself. However, the reward is priceless – connection. I found that as I became more authentic and open, people responded positively. I built relationships that were rooted in honesty and vulnerability, rather than control.
What made this journey worthwhile was a deeper understanding of love, inspired by our friend Esther Perel’s insight, “There is no love without the threat of loss”. Yes, love and loss are two sides of the same coin. Facing the fear of loss led me to experience deeper love.
So, what do you control that is sabotaging you? Where does your survival strategy kick in to protect you with control? I urge you to embark on this journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, where you will learn to let go of control and embrace life as it is. As you dive deep into your fears and let them go, you will realize that control was never about safety, but about fear. And the moment you start dealing with your fears, you will start losing the need for control.