The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer, Katharina Buczek.
Do you constantly feel as though you are trying to control the outcome of every situation? Whether you are applying for a new job, dipping your toe into a new relationship, or even just hosting a dinner party, you might feel immense pressure to make sure that everything goes “perfectly.”
Let’s face it, though: “perfect” is idealistic, and if we set ourselves up with this expectation, we are bound to be disappointed. Moreover, we are clouding our judgment by ignoring one key fact: we cannot control any circumstance or person except for ourselves.
If you can relate, then welcome to the club. I am the first to admit that I am a “control freak.” I keep itemized to-do lists, plan out everything that I can, and stick to my own pre-set schedule.
While all of this effort may allow me to achieve high productivity, though, it also limits my perspective and dampens my mental health. Here’s why.
If you are a control freak and you have an impending work meeting or social gathering, or first date, you tend to agonize over the little, uncontrollable details. How will my coworkers perceive my contributions? Will my friends have a good time? Will my date be interested in what I have to say?
Not only are these unfair questions to ask yourself– because, but once again, there is no possible way for you to know or control how perceptions form and situations play out in real life. But they are also seriously damaging to your mental health.
Feeling anxiety going into every new opportunity is no way to live. These feelings may even manifest as self-doubt or such intense fear that you even decline partaking in new experiences altogether.
Thankfully, though, life does not have to be a constant mental game of cat and mouse. You can learn to stop only chasing opportunities that you feel like you can control and throwing in the towel in realms that seem too ambiguous. How? You have to practice self-awareness in three key areas.