Recently, I watched the movie, Beautiful Boy, a terrifying account of one boy’s spiral with drugs, and his family’s parallel journey trying to help while they grieve, rage, and worry. The movie is poignant, disturbing, warming; bringing the viewer back time and time again to the elusive idea of control.
The young man trying to control his impulses to use. The father trying to control his son. The mother in law trying to control their home. The mother trying to control her regret and shame.
Each experiencing moments of exhilaration when small successes align reinforcing their false story of control. Temporary glimpses of control which is its own kind of narcotic. It fades, of course, as moments are impermanent and the next often reveals that we never had control after all.
Control often results in cycles of disappointment, highs followed by crash, and impossible performance thresholds. You have agency over you and no one else. You cannot fix, save, heal, handhold someone or the world. You can only turn your attention inward to live in alignment with your own highest good and believe in the potential of others.
Whether or not they achieve that potential is their personal agency.
Control leads us to need things a certain way by labeling right / wrong, desirable / undesirable, pass / fail. It is an illusion, and our effort to over-engineer & over-manage is our clinging to the illusion. Where is control showing in your life?
What could you practice to let it go?