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The Gift of Acceptance

Acceptance or Denial? It’s Your Choice to Make!

control freaks

When we are struggling in coping with a troubling issue, we basically have two choices: We can accept the underlying reality of the situation, or we can deny it.  It’s your choice to make!

I strongly encourage people to choose acceptance because that is the only way we can begin to effectively deal with the problem. But here’s the irony—and challenge: We must first overcome our denial before we know what it is that needs accepting. Which is to say, denial obscures acceptance. Continue reading

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Are You a Love Controller?

love controllerAre you or your loved one a love controller? If so, this can be very hard on the relationship. Love control obstructs the romantic flow.  It forces the action, rather than allowing the love currents to unfold naturally so that people can relax and just be themselves—and offer their love and kindness without pressure or expectations.

Simply put, most people don’t like being told what to do, how to be, or how to act in matters of the heart. Do you?

And yet, if you were to ask a friend or your love one if they considered themselves a love controller, my guess is that they would likely say no.  Are you a love controller?  Let’s find out. Take the Love Control Test from my book, Losing Control, Finding Serenity: How the Need to Control Hurts Us and How to Let It Go

The Love Control Test 

Ask yourself the following:

Do I usually feel I know what’s best for my partner?

Do I charm or pout or withdraw to get my way?  Continue reading

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Accepting Your Foes Helps!

personal recoveryReading the above title, you may be thinking, “Why should I accept people who are trying to harm or cause me trouble?  They are the last people I would want to accept!” I know I used to feel that way, especially before starting my personal recovery journey.

It’s clearly unnerving to think about accepting those that we feel are toxic, and even more challenging to do so. However, when I look back, I now realize that I suffered unnecessarily from my refusal to accept such people, both in terms of greater personal anguish and poorer results.

This became even more clear to me–of all things—while competing in some seniors’ tennis tournaments.  Continue reading

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The Link Between Addiction and Control

personal recoveryThe lives of addicts often reel out of control, especially for those who have not started down the path to personal recovery. Many feel ashamed and powerless over their addiction and many things in their lives. To counter their anxiety and attempt to gain some semblance of control in their lives, they try to exert “external” control over others and important aspects of their lives.

Some believe addicts are control freaks. Licensed clinical social worker Rita Milios explains why in her informative article appearing in Recovery.org titled Control Freak: How to Stop Trying to Change Your World and Change Yourself Instead. Visit this link to read the article.

“If a person feels that they have lost control of themselves and their substance use, they often shift their sphere of control to other areas of their life. Feeling out of control increases the anxiety, and becoming a “control freak” is one way an addict may attempt to reduce this anxiety. Exerting outward control may also be an attempt to manage other uncomfortable emotions, such as depression, low self-esteem or feelings of powerlessness.” Continue reading

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The Control—Misery Link

d964a44cdb103020a8e7cf1c117e56a0Control freaks beware—those controlling tendencies can create misery in your life.

A friend recently shared, “The more I try to control things in my life, the more miserable I become.  In fact, the misery in my life is directly proportional to how much I try to control things.”

I, of course, knew how excessive control impacts my serenity, but never heard it expressed in quite that way. As I thought about it further, I realized there is indeed a direct link between control and “misery.” Let me explain why. Continue reading

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10 Ways the Need to Control Hurts You

control freaks

image by Sara Hasse

Many people call them control freaks.  Some call them controllers.  Others refer to them as nitpickers and micromanagers.  Whatever you call them, they all have one clear thing in common: The Need to Control.

Hence, the subtitle of my book Losing Control, Finding Serenity:  “How the Need to Control Hurts Us and How to Let It Go.”   As such, the book examines in-depth (using true stories) the many ways our need to control hurts us—and others.

Controlling too much is like gripping a rapidly moving conveyor belt—you either get burned or dragged along.

10 ways for control freaks to get themselves in check:

1.  The intensity of our control-driven actions “blinds” us from recognizing new paths and opportunities that could vastly improve our lives.

2.  The need to control our children’s lives deprives them of opportunities for personal growth.  It also leads to resentment between parent and child.

3.  Control obstructs the creative process.  Creativity flourishes with “opening up”, whereas control closes it down.

Continue reading

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5 Ways High Expectations Hurt You

In Losing Control, Finding Serenity, I explain how high expectations are a driving force behind our need to control our loved ones, children, friends and others. High expectations of others pressure them to do and be what we want, or what we feel is best for them. As such, we are imposing our will on them.

Have you considered how high expectations hurt you? Here are five significant ways:

  1. They create dissension in our close relationships.People resent it when we pressure them to be other than who they are or wish to be.   We are in effect telling them they are “not good enough.” This leads to resentment and dissension, thus impacting our bonds and connection with them.

Continue reading

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Control and Impermanence

control freaksOne of the illusions about control is that many of us believe we can significantly alter or impact the natural flow of things, or as I like to say, “life’s natural currents.” This is why our friends or loved ones may refer to us as control freaks.

I write about the folly of control in Losing Control, Finding Serenity (click here to download a free chapter of my next book, The Blessings of Acceptance).  In short,

The more we try to control others and things, the less control we really have over them. Continue reading

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5 Keys to Practicing “Acceptance”

acceptance storiesAn underlying theme of my book, Losing Control, Finding Serenity, is that acceptance is fundamental to reducing our need to control. Readers agree. The most highlighted sentence of Amazon’s best selling eBook version is:

“The more we accept people and things for who and what they are, the less we need to control.”

Readers also recognize the folly of trying to control others, a realization present in all acceptance stories. The second most highlighted part is:

“At bottom, excessive control represents our attempt to change another’s very nature and spirit. But because another’s true spirit cannot be changed except by that person alone—our efforts to do so are not only fruitless, they are also harmful. It is not about the other person as much as it is about us and our unwillingness to accept life as it is.”

The Importance of Acceptance

More and more people in all walks of life are coming to understand the importance of acceptance* to their overall well-being, not the least of which is the vital role it plays in improving (and healing) family, love, work and interpersonal relationships. (See “Five Good Reasons For Accepting People As They Are.”) Continue reading

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Letting Go of Denial


acceptance stories
Denial is usually associated with rejecting or denying a certain state of affairs, or thinking or believing that things “aren’t so.” However, denial really encompasses much more than that; wishful thinking, turning a blind eye, and withdrawal are just a few subtle ways of our not wanting to accept the “what is” in our lives. Click here to read  “5 Keys to Practicing Acceptance” to learn how to practice more acceptance in your life.

More specifically, denial includes such things as not admitting to ourselves that our spouse has a severe drinking problem or an addiction; not dealing with a recurring health issue; avoiding a serious business or financial matter; not accepting that our child has social problems; and not owning up to a loss in performance in our favorite activities.

Whatever its form or manner, denial is fraught with harm to our happiness and well being.   Continue reading

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