Control and Self-care

I had the pleasure of leading more professional development today on a campus on self-care through balance and boundaries. As I have mentioned previously, it is one of my favorite topics and how I approach it has changed over the last year. Instead of listing the ways we can do self-care (pedicure, day out…) we have a hard discussion about what is stopping us from taking care of ourselves. Instead of looking at how many hours are in the day, we look inward to discover what is stopping us from saying no to others and yes to ourselves.

Today was like many others of having honest and vulnerable conversations about what stops us from living the way we want. Once again we spent considerable time on the role of self-worth, but today we also had some  great discussion on the role of control and it has really gotten me thinking…

When we struggle to have a positive sense of self, it can lead us to have problems with relinquishing control. If our value comes from what we do, why would we want anyone to help?

This became so real for me when I had Keaton. I was immediately enveloped in a mom culture where martyrdom was rampant and to do anything different meant you were a bad mom. I saw dad bashing constantly and often times it had more to do with moms not wanting to give up control then dads not wanting to help. I struggled with this myself… Matthew would do something and I would immediately criticize how he was doing it. I would act as if I was the only one that knew what to do… and reality was we were both learning on the fly… aren’t all parents? But if I was the one that knew everything and could do it all, that meant I had value and worth. Thankfully my exhaustion helped me to see my faulty thinking and I slowly got out of Matthew’s way and in the end we were all better for it.

Admitting we can’t do it all and we need others is not easy and it takes a gut check about our own sense of self-worth. All too often at work we purposefully refuse help or not invite others to the table because our entire sense of worth is determined on what we do and accomplish. If we give up control, we fear we are giving up worth. Little do we realize it is only through letting go of control and letting others come beside us do we fully experience a complete sense of worth. Not only do others gain from helping, but we ourselves experience acceptance and worth in a way that is true and genuine.

It is when we say yes to others and no to our self-talk of needing complete control will we find the place where we are free.

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