Why You Shouldn’t Be So Hard On Yourself For Being A ‘Control Freak’

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So, I have a confession. I’m a control freak.

This isn’t necessarily a recent development, nor is it something I’m upset about or opposed to. I see this confession as my own personal coming to terms with an obstacle within my own personality; a part of me that will continually keep me paranoid, feeling helpless with regards to the aspects of my life (and career) for which I know I have no say. The more I realize that I in fact am a control freak, the more I am able to convince myself that some things are better left uncontrolled. I know it might sound like contrary logic, but hear me out. The way my mind works, I am in charge of making things work out in my favor, regardless of the arena. Don’t have a boyfriend? You must be keeping too high of standards or being too unapproachable. Still have that flab and those love handles? You haven’t been dieting or exercising enough. This is the back-and-forth conversation inside my head, which I deal with daily.

On one hand, it can be crippling and severely discouraging. But that isn’t what I want to write about today. There is a positive, helpful, encouraging, and even self-esteem-boosting quality to this control-hungry thinking. Sometimes, it’s as simple as the fact that keeping myself accountable for my own success keeps me motivated to keep working hard. Especially with regards to my career — if I were to let go of all control and to throw my career in the hands of fate and mere chance, I know that things would not work themselves out to my personal satisfaction. The things in my career that have happened thus far are the result of my efforts; I have begun to succeed, because I have put in the hard hours, did the research, and made the connections.

In a more roundabout way, my quasi-controlling mentality is retroactively rewarding in other areas. While I may punch myself for not working out some days, I also allow myself the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment for all of the days in which I do. Each morning, when I finish my four- or five-mile jog, I feel completely satisfied and proud of myself. At that moment, the endorphins elicited by an hour of exercise overwhelm my body, and I congratulate myself for taking charge and doing something good for myself. When I get a good review from a superior or mentor — or when I have gotten my first few job offers post-grad school — I again allow myself to feel that I have proactively accomplished something…something that I would not have accomplished, had I let go of the reigns even for just a second.

The moral of this story is really just positivity — with a focus on being proactive. The harder I work in all aspects of my life, the happier I will be with the respective results. This may be an obvious statement, but it is a mental process I must work through with myself, in order to justify my overbearing, controlling persona. And I like to have control of my thought processes…obviously. TC mark

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