Learning to Let Go of Control Over Life to Being Open to People

I have never considered myself wanting control over life or being a controlling person who is not open to people. My version of ‘control’ is someone who places undue influence over another. I have thought that when I am with other people I am never dictatorial or dominating. Instead, I have generally felt that I am an ‘easy going’ person who seems fair and ‘goes with the flow’.

As an ‘easy going’ person, I would often find myself:

  • Being very easy to please,
  • Not saying a lot, and
  • Agreeing with what my friends would like to do.

To me as an ‘easy going’ person, I would have never thought that I was harming anyone or me in any way.

I have been discovering recently though, that I have often placed more control over life than I would ever have first thought. I am realising when I am with other people that:

  • I have held back what I am really feeling so as not to make anyone uncomfortable. I would often feel very clearly something may not be quite right with a situation or circumstance I may be in. It seemed though, that to honour my feelings would be an impediment or a hassle to others. I remember when I was at school assemblies many years ago and sometimes needing to use the bathroom during the middle of the proceedings. It seemed from early occurrences that not only were the people around me disrupted when I went, but so were the speakers and teachers. I quickly learned that holding on and putting up with my own discomfort was easier than the discomfort of feeling the imposition I seemed to make on others when I did choose to honour my feelings.
  • My life has been riddled with moments of silence. This is often felt as an awkward silence where I would hold back things I wanted to express to someone but never felt that I could. It felt like there was this great weight holding my voice back and it seemed too difficult to voice what I wanted to say. I would subsequently find out on many occasions that what I wanted to say was actually something the other person needed to hear because it would have really helped them with their day. One of these examples happened to me recently after grocery shopping when talking with the checkout lady, where I wished I had said what a lovely person she was and how much care I could feel she placed in doing a quality job. I could feel she seemed a little down at the time and I wanted to share exactly what I was feeling about her: instead I said nothing.
  • Often with friends, organising a get-together had to be focussed around ‘doing’ – an activity or some form of stimulation – like a movie. I would find myself thinking “What are we going to do after we finish the activity together?” It seemed like being with the other person and not doing anything would be too boring and I always felt like I had to do something with them to cover that up. What happened to the days when I was young where I could lie on the riverbank and cloud-gaze with a friend… and have the most fun from the simplicity of doing very little?

These memories of being with others have showed me that I often control the situation to make sure the activities I do with friends do not create moments where we could just talk and get to know each other better. It almost seems like a shield of protection.

Holding back what I am feeling helps me to ensure that I will not get rejected from my friends for doing or saying something that they would not like.

I have felt that being silent helped me by ensuring that others will not get put off or reject me for the truth that I would bring to situations.

I realised the pattern of doing things and wanting to be kept busy when I hung out with people helps to ensure the others don’t see me for who I am. It helps to minimise the rejection for being someone that they may not like.

What if using control over life as a protective shield didn’t help me at all? What if being more of a controlling person in these situations actually hurt me?

Since realising this, I have gotten rid of my protective shield and been more open to people than ever before. I have been sharing my smile, imparting my joy and most of all being more of me. I can see now that I choose to be comfortable by using control over life (in the disguise of an easy going person who was actually being a controlling person) instead of being me, the joy I am, in each moment of my life.

This was inspired by the joyful way I am forever seeing my friends and family live on a daily basis. Through Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon I have been guided to open up and be more of the amazing man I am.

By Joshua Campbell (21), Living in Christchurch New Zealand

349 thoughts on “Learning to Let Go of Control Over Life to Being Open to People

  1. I can relate to using control like this Joshua. It is great to expose the more subtle ways of control that appear innocent or easy going however are as manipulative as the more expressive and obvious ways.

  2. Thank you Joshua for offering such a great insight to how controlling plays out in the subtle but equally as harmful ways. I can relate to much of what you have shared as I too had prided myself for being easy going. However in all honesty this actually translated to not wanting to bring the truth, all of me, to any situation or interaction. So instead I controlled myself to not speak up or share what I felt, and just went along with what was happening or being said so I would fit in and feel accepted. I now realise that holding back my truth is not only harmful for myself and others, but that it is actually a form of abuse as I am disregarding who I am. Not honoring or expressing the truth I feel, is withholding that which does not belong to me, is in fact universal and is there to be shared with all. I have actually discovered that it is far easier and feels far freer being myself, than is does seeking acceptance through controlling and as such fogoing who I naturally am.

  3. Control is often thought as open, explicit, visible. The thing is that it does not have to be the case. We are true masters in controlling situations for whatever reason we associate with a personal benefit. We know how to work around whatever is in the way to get where we feel we have to go. We get enormously frustrated when this attempt is challenged somehow and we tend to plea purity on those occasions. Come on!!

  4. Is not speaking the truth being controlling? Such a great question! It’s true we have analysed a situation and we have made the choice to hold back what is needed – so we are in fact manipulating the situation to protect ourselves – what an eye opener.

    1. Yes..trying to control the outcome, e.g. another’s reaction, is extremely controlling, yet most of us do this all the time in everyday conversations – calibrating and measuring, how much can I say here, how should I phrase that…what’s the easiest way of presenting this so that my message will be understood and I’ll be accepted instead of rejected. What if we all got over our fear of rejection and our need to be accepted? Could true communication, where we truly met the other person without needing anything from them, flourish, and would our relationships thrive as a result? Worth experimenting with.

  5. I can so relate to all that is shared here. Especially in how much we hurt ourselves by holding back what we could deliver to the world. But hurting ourselves is just the tip of the iceberg. If we begin to feel the truth of who we are, we begin to understand that we are this, for all. So in holding back we are causing the greatest harm to humanity, that which, I feel, we cannot yet fully comprehend.

  6. How to stay in the reduction of existence and choose to not be aware of the vastness and energetic flow of movement we are part of is to be in control.

  7. I can really relate to that control to avoid feeling settled in a relationship. Not settled in that the relationship reaches a point and stops but feeling completely content just being myself and sharing that with another. Writing this it does make me wonder, are all these games worth having the end result of drama and misery?
    I am starting to see and feel that I am, we are worth more than that.

  8. Wanting to please others and do the right thing to get them on your side isn’t seen as controlling but is actually pretty manipulative. When we allow ourselves to just be, nothing else can compare to that feeling – and the control and need for others to like us just melts away.

  9. It is interesting to see how something like easy going as you describe here can be actually be quite opposite in its actual meaning to what it’s thought to be.

  10. I can relate to this holding back in ‘expressing how we really feel’ thing you speak of here Joshua and the control I have to exert on myself to continually go against the natural truth and feelings that are flowing and bubbling up through me all the time. It is exhausting really and I can feel is a real pressure on my body.

  11. What you have expressed in this blog Joshua I can really relate to; I can feel the hurt, harm and damage I inflict on myself by holding back; let alone what harm I cause to others. Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom.

  12. Thanks for sharing this article! The ways and level we use control give our life the perception it is going a certain way is quite destrctictive, to families, relationships and ourselves because it is always like setting a certain tone, but forgetting there is greater tones for us to reach.

  13. A really elaborate and insightful blog Josh about how holding back what we feel we naturally have to express, as big or as small as that is has a massive effect on those around us, and how our part within the whole is vitally important – equal to everyone else’s.

  14. This is awesome Josh, so many in life choose to live with this constant control and protective shields and never question this. When people such as yourself begin to let go of this control and protection you reflect to others the power of this choice that allows you to feel lighter, more joyful and more ‘you’.

  15. Brilliantly exposed and elucidated upon Joshua. Do we actually take responsibility for the part we play when we hold back our expression with others – of the love, care and truth we inherently know?
    This is absolutely a form of protection and keeping our lives ‘safe’ and in control – that we ‘fly under the radar’ so to speak…
    What if this ‘low flying’ does no-one any true good whatsoever, and it actually harmful? These are questions for all of us to ask ourselves, in consideration of how much of our life is about oneself only, in negation of the greater whole of which we are an intrinsic part, and in which we rightly deserve to PLAY our part, in full measure.

  16. What are the chances of reading two of your blogs on the same day Joshua. Both written when you were 21. I’m so blown away by your openness and willingness to lay it all out and be vulnerable at an age where you are being absolutely bombarded by society to be the complete opposite. Incredible. A true role model for anyone of any age!

  17. This blog kind of highlights in general our unwillingness to just put ourselves out there no matter what happens. I can relate so much to holding my expression back, being mute when things need to be said or someone needed to be confirmed. What’s helped me start to change that is I realised these moments are not about me but the growth and support of another person.

  18. ‘I have been discovering recently though, that I have often placed more control over life than I would ever have first thought.’ This is definitely true for me too, and I have come to realise that most of it comes from a form of protection, not saying what I know, holding back what I feel, and in general not living who I truly am. Thankfully now I am more aware of this I have been able to live more of me, and less of who I thought I needed to be.

  19. It is exhausting to be anyone else but ourselves. There is no performance when we are just ourselves, no matter who we are with and what we are doing. It is the most freeing and most powerful experience. I can’t imagine how anyone would not want to hang out with this amazingness 🙂 But of course, it is everyone’s right if they choose to remain in comfort and fair enough for that, but what others choose cannot and should not affect the level of awesomeness we know being ourselves entail. In fact, how could anyone know they can be that, if awesomeness was being held back?

  20. Some great questions you have asked here Joshua, highlighting how harmful it is to hold ourselves back from expressing our true feelings with ourselves and with others.

  21. I can totally relate to this measuring of how much of me I would let others see. I too thought it was about me just holding back and stopping something potentially disturbing from affecting others therefore was less of the harm. But what I have overlooked was that when we stop the truth from being expressed, something else is getting expressed. It is not possible for us not to be expressing something with our every breath. The more I commit to bringing love into the way I am with myself, the easier and more natural it seems to get for me to express and share the truth with others.

  22. Being easy going, or being nice is the cloak of a person not willing to walk as who they are in the world.

  23. This is an interesting view on what being easy going is really about. Thank you for your insights Joshua.

  24. Control is a great way of letting the mind dominate life at the expense of the body and it’s living universal wisdom.

  25. I too used to think I was an open and easy-going person until I realised I was keeping people out by asking questions about them. I was genuinely interested but it was a very safe way to have a conversation- me ask all the questions and not have to answer any. Truth is I would have loved to share about myself but I didn’t think anyone was interested – mainly because I kept them busy asking questions about them! Even when a question did come my way I would answer very quickly and superficially – minising the amount of time I was the focus of attention. Great to express that 🙂

  26. Hi Josh, what a great and revealing article. I appreciate your honesty. Your story also sheds a different light on behaviors that I would not have deemed controlling, but they are. Good to ponder on this, as I see I am also much more of controlling person than I thought up till recently.

  27. Thank you Josh – the examples you give are not the things we normally associate with control but they are common and reveal that control shows itself in many ways. The thing with control is that it robs us of the opportunity to truly connect with ourselves and with others.

  28. ‘What if using control over life as a protective shield didn’t help me at all? What if being more of a controlling person in these situations actually hurt me?’ I agree Joshua it is truly harming and it has its effect on our body and also we are depriving people of the reflection they actually need to get by making it about ourselves.

  29. I relate to holding back things I have felt to say.. For me it usually is only held back from one situational event before where I was shutdown. I am sensitive and know what I know. Like you say Joshua expressing you and all you need to say can be the most wonderous gift for another to receive that can change their day and life. When I understand and have accepted my expression is not for myself but for another it is unhealthy to hold back.

  30. Thank you Joshua in exploring all those situations and for bringing it back to the core of simply allowing ourselves to be who we are in full, and to express what we feel openly with others. It’ a much more simple way to live than the myriad of situations we find ourselves in by holding ourselves back.

  31. I love your smile and the joy you bring, great that you are now sharing this with more people, ‘I can see now that I choose to be comfortable by using control over life (in the disguise of an easy going person who was actually being a controlling person) instead of being me, the joy I am, in each moment of my life.’

  32. Who would have thought that the ‘easy going’ person was actually more controlling than not! Perhaps they are not outwardly controlling situations but they are certainly controlling the volumes of wisdom, love and honouring of the body that could otherwise be lived.

  33. It’s ironic we try to control situations as a form of protection, because it offers us zero protection. Everyone can see the game we’re playing and it’s so obvious when we’re not being ourselves. We generally want other people to be themselves, yet when it comes to us, we sometimes think that it’s not enough – so we bring in complication and control, instead of accepting and just being all that we are in full, without holding it back.

    1. “We generally want other people to be themselves, yet when it comes to us, we sometimes think that it’s not enough – so we bring in complication and control, instead of accepting and just being all that we are in full, without holding it back.” Brilliantly said Bryony. And in our lack of acceptance we are exerting control over what can happen around us.

  34. An inspiring read Joshua. So much energy is poured into what others think, we all know it, and we often talk about it, but for some reason often we’re not prepared to cut the cycle of it. Thanks for doing your bit to remind us that it’s not that big a deal and that the quality of relationship can be greatly improved when we are not sitting back discounting ourselves and being ‘nice’.

  35. I have come to the realisation that if I do not value myself and feel my worth, I walk through life expecting rejection and therefore feel isolated and constantly having to prove myself to others. Yet another way of controlling everything and everyone around me.

  36. I loved what you shared Joshua it seemed to be very much how I have navigated through life, going with the flow, watching what I say and relating by always doing with people, that way I could be with people and keep me hidden, safe, very controlling to say the least, I was amazed when I first heard this explained to me, it was hard for me to see this at first, but when I did I realised that I was holding me back and not accepting me and not allowing others to see the real me.

  37. There are so many ways of control, the very obvious ones and the less obvious you describe here Joshua, being easy going and not demanding, but in fact this one is just as controlling. I recognise what you say here about control being about protection, I know when I am in control, really I’m just looking out for me and I’m missing the bigger picture and in fact I’m not me, and everything feels awkward and often contrived. When I let go and am more open with myself and others then things are different and life is more of a flow and there is much more of a meeting and connection with those I am with. This feels a more natural way to be and it’s a so much more expansive and joyful way to live.

  38. I can relate to so much in this blog especially the ‘easy going’, person who kept the peace and held back from expressing as it would make others feel uncomfortable, but in fact I was only hurting myself and playing small – mainly lack of self-worth. Over the years I have worked on and healed my hurts that today I can express what is there to be expressed and that feels very freeing and also at the same time supports me to deepen the trust I have with myself.

  39. Its quite funny to know that not committing ones full self to life is controlling and its the most sinister form of control as it gives one the impressing that one is the opposite .

    1. Great point, John – the extreme is when we we make it look as though we’re committed but really are just going through the motions, so it’s a double whammy of control – not committing to life first of all, and then adding to it by pretending that we are.

  40. Holding back is a draining and exhausting way to live life, and so controlling! I too have used the holding back and staying silent methods so much that they’ve become ingrained patterns of behaviours that are not the easiest to let go of, but I can feel how holding back causes complication and confusion and disharmony, every time. It’s controlling and disruptive to hold something back that is there to be said.

  41. What a great expose of the many forms control can take. We think of controlling as a very overt and obvious kind of dictatorship or bullying, but it can be what might be termed ‘passive-aggressive’ as well… A kind of withholding of oneself as a silent protest at the injustices of the world or situation.

  42. ‘What happened to the days when I was young where I could lie on the riverbank and cloud-gaze with a friend… and have the most fun from the simplicity of doing very little?’ I get a real sense of innocence and openness and just the joy of being together as one.

  43. It´s really interesting to expose in how many and very different and even hidden ways we can be controlling. To clock the impulse of protecting oneself is the give away to recognise the controlling behaviour.

  44. When we hold ourselves back we tighten and harden our body and close ourselves off from being truly open and connecting with everyone around us in a far more meaningful and caring way.

  45. This article changes the face of control and how we would mostly see it. This part isn’t about the dominate and obviously forceful one but about the more meek and mild nice one and yet most would be sympathetic to this and not see it as controlling. Yet here we have it being ‘outed’ for the control it is and seeing control as someone simply not being all that they truly are in any moment for any reason. When we are only seeing something one way it actually allows it to exist within us in all forms and so if we truly don’t like how something is and feels then it’s a responsibility for us to see it in all forms. This process of how we are and how we see things is very personal, as in it’s always reflective to how we are in any moment, how we truly are in any moment and this is always ongoing. I loved reading this article again.

  46. There is much wisdom in what you share Joshua! I have held myself back in many areas of my life and am working at changing this when I see this behaviour. It is thanks to Serge Benhayon and his presentations of the Ageless Wisdom for my changes.

  47. In every moment through our day we are offered the opportunity to be moved by the natural flow of our Soul, with God, or not. And so it not possible that with any movement made in separation to our Soul we are in control, as it is a resistance, a holding back or a withdrawal away from what it otherwise our natural expression of our true and Soulful way of being.

  48. Silence is often not golden, but an indication of us not being willing to express what we would actually like to say. The expression that may have in the past been not delivered with love, kindness, wisdom or respect pollutes what is then there to be said, and it is held in, but in each and every moment there is an opportunity to express with the all that we are, regardless of the past.

  49. You unravel beautifully there how the perception of one thing/behaviour can be revealed as the complete opposite. This shows how we put certain behaviours into certain categories and do not go by the quality they bring in each moment. We can say we have become somewhat lazy, wanting one straight answer for each scenario, but with that we are encapsulating ourselves and denying us the space to unfold and grow.

  50. Joshua you have indeed changed your ways. You have changed to a person that openly expresses how he feels and does not hold back. What I now see is a beautiful tender man who is very aware of his body and is able to express how he feels with much exquisite detail. Inspiring for any man to see. Thanks!

  51. Thank you Joshua for a great blog, I can relate to controlling, keeping myself safe by the way I would engage with people by asking them questions about themselves that way I would be able to stay hidden but still have the feeling I was conversing. These days I am more open with sharing myself, I know there is still much more of me yet to come out and express.

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