ControlJan 20, 2021
From a psychological standpoint, control is the idea that we have the ability to influence what or will happen in the environment, outside of us. These belief systems and thought patterns are learned and modified through life. We inherit them from our parents and our culture, through our experiences of loss or change and start to mature and evolve our understanding of what we have, and don’t have control of in life though, change, accomplishment and growth.
Control is said to be the mother of all belief systems and greatly associated with the inability to accept the natural flow and movement of the environment and changing expressions of those around us as well as our inner self-perception of ability related to factors that hold us back or support us. We need control to help us cut back things that do not serve us and release Physical or psychological ties that bind us or hold us back. We need it to foster confidence and inner motivation to inspire and have faith in moving forward. When we try to over involve ourselves or micromanage all aspects of all of our existence, we resist the potential of growth and development that comes with connecting and un-connecting with the natural flow of life.
There is a certain level of directionality that comes with control when it is balanced that becomes flexible and allows us to accept he evolution and movement of our lives. Balanced control engenders balanced discipline in our physical, spiritual or mental activities, contentment, and self-confidence based on our behavior control supports a state of calmness that becomes higher wisdom, spirituality, and philosophy; all of these states are related to metal element psychology.
The metal element energy provides us with ambition and the capacity to connect to strong, forward-thinking ideas, where we have the tools and capacity to deal with drawbacks and failures without controlling the outcome. Metal is all about a deep sense of acceptance. When this energy is out of balance or excessive, we can shift into patterns of perfectionism, rigidity, and dogma where the order of extreme discipline gives us a very rigid, sharp framework for moving through life that doesn’t have much capacity to shape new potential. This hard and inflexible energy becomes unyielding and can lead to distortions around jealousy and greed as we seek to maintain perfectionism.
There, there’s a natural tendency for us to ebb and flow taking in and releasing out through life and moving through stages of change. When we excessively hold on to our identity and our structures or ways of doing things we miss the yielding an opportunity to mature. When the metal energies around control are deficient this can lead to no boundaries and our identity wrapped up in a need for approval from the external world, behaviors can be clinging, attaching to the things that keep us safe or relevant. Our identity is wrapped up in other people’s approval, which shows that self-confidence is limited and this leads us into a sense of over sensitivity to other people’s influence on our lives. Through the inability to let go and actualize wisdom, our inner self is less developed and the metal deficient person shows a sense of surface behavior or shallow psychological self-awareness.
Exploring the mind-body connection of how these psychological states of excess or deficiency around control can show up as symptoms in the body system. The autumn season highlights this mental energy and tends to bring deeper-lying patterns to the surface and shows us the aspects that are out of balance showing up physiologically or physically in the body system. All of the body systems and areas that separate us from the environment, or modulate how we take in and let go of great food, experiences, and connection are affected.
Symptoms of metal element issues:
- Rigidity or stiffness
- Shortness of breath
- The inability to fully breathe in or fully breathe out
- Bowel dysfunction including constipation or loose stool
- Dry Skin or nails
- Cracking or dryness around the lips, nose, and mucous membranes
- Lack of perspiration
- Inability to bond
- Inability to let go of bonds
People seek control as a source to gain or maintain a sense of influence in their lives. This can show up as control in relationships, work environments, or social structures. Control psychologically serves us better when reflected inward at discipline and structuring function into our own development so that we have the capacity to show up more efficiently within our relationships. When we direct control outward and try to maintain control of others or situations, it creates a rigidity that makes people and experiences hard to deal with blocking the natural capacity to let go. Control energy being spent outward dissolves potential for development inward. The desire and maintenance of control outward to others is an underpinning of relationship dynamics that lead to stagnation and self-poisoning behaviors.
People seek control to develop strategies to fulfill their desires and goals in life. When those desires and goals are in balance with purpose, there is a necessary carving out and structuring of our responsiveness and capacity to do things that lead us to spend our energy on achieving a goal. However, when we are disconnected from our purpose, and our goals are remaining in the carnal sense of desire, or success, or proving of self-worth, we begin to set up a mechanism within ourselves that wastes our energy on these external successes creating resentment and unfulfilled lack of inspiration. This is where we get stuck in patterns that don’t really serve us. There are many individual differences in why people seek control of themselves and others which have to do with their unique constitutions and experiences in early childhood as well as relationships through life.
Control as a belief system is deeply related to our internal and external locus of control, which is a mental concept that refers to the capacity for us to have control over situations we experience in life. Internally we look at the control we have to modify or change our behavior and motivations. This relates to our behavior because we are able to, with that inner discipline, fulfill our roles and responsibilities to seek accomplishment and self-development. Externally we measure the barriers or resources we have to support our development and growth. These perceptions are very important for us to be clear about, for the capacity for behavioral self-management and discipline to achieve and accomplish rely on the internal locus of control where we are able to allocate breath and resources towards any given goal, and the perceived challenges or conflicts outside of us that we must face or transcend to have success.
There’s a nuance between the belief of recognizing if our destiny is controlled internally by our behaviors and thoughts and directions, or if we are under the influences of our fate, higher source, or authoritarian structures that suppress our capacity for development and achievement in life. There’s also belief in fate and destiny, particularly alignment to our true blueprint as a resource that supports the capacity for us to have more aligned internal control. In Taoist energetics, it is believed we each have a unique pathway of alignment based on our patterns and time of birth, and the more we train our organism to fulfill that destiny to be more aligned and successful our lives will be. We can learn to uncover this purpose through introspection and connection to remembering our truth and “higher” self and learn to master the deficits that distract us from our path. Mental energy and perspective of internal and external responses to the environment need to be in harmony to stay with this alignment. The idea that when we align with our truth and purpose, our destiny and faith will support the proper action and integrity of our internal control to evolve and achieve that destiny.
Control on an internal psychological level allows us to develop self-efficacy, which supports the belief that we can actually execute behaviors that will help us to attain and evolve in our life. This is where we have the ability to essentially, through discipline, have control over behavior, and motivation and how we show up in social or structural situations. Psychologically, there are four main sources of self-efficacy that include mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and emotional states. These states provide us an internal taste or desire for mastery and propel our behaviors to engage and learn and build competency around our experiences in life. When we have a goal that moves us forward and then arrive at that goal, we learn to understand a sense of accomplishment through challenge and find inner mastery. This increases confidence and motivation to move on to the next goal or development of ourselves.
Other people’s influence increases or decreases our capacity to succeed or not succeed. There is a fine line of mental clarity and understanding of our inherent value that helps us cut away attachments to things or people that hold us back. Our self-efficacy is directly related to the treatment and interface that we receive in relationships from our parents, our partners, co co-workers, and people we connect with. We can increase self-efficacy by challenging ourselves or centering around people who bring out mastery within us or have achieved greatness in areas we seek to excel. The Vicarious experience of outer potential awakens potential within us and clarifies the pathway forward to our own achievements. When we take ownership of our choices, we increase self-efficacy, and when we couple this ownership and internal control with the support of those around us to bolster our interests with encouragement, we are able to also succeed in our competencies. This is a powerful time of year to begin to think about what relationships need to be let go of that is holding us back. So that we can get deeper into our sense of internal value and clarify our own motivations for what’s important.
Behavioral control is a particularly important aspect of our perceived sense of control. This is the ability for us to respond, act, or not act upon our desires and impulses as it relates to situational experiences that we have. Behavioral control is psychologically assessed and comprised of the components of self-efficacy and controllability. It deals with our capacity to perform a behavior and pull upon the resources available to us to transcend barriers. Psychologically when we look at our resources, our opinions of obstacles and perception of barriers have a direct relationship to our ability to actually execute behavior. These attitudes towards behavior can be positive or negative and are an important expression of appropriate response and reaction in our environment. Winston Churchill said that “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. “ The way we approach life and our attitude to create change or move through change, from a mental standpoint has a direct impact on how we’re going to react or behave when faced with a task or process at hand.
If we feel stuck or oppressed or held back, we are likely to execute our behaviors through those filters which create resistance within and more barriers to motivation and discipline. Whereas having a positive attitude of confidence and ability will then support our capacity for success in our behaviors. Many people feel a sense of overwhelm and helplessness in the current conditions that we are existing in, which is creating a recipe of destruction in our capacity to make change through these external situations that we have socially and culturally embarked upon. New landscapes of social distancing, mandates of behaviors, or the waiting and uncertainty of political futures have led to internal and external overwhelm and restrictions that have been placed upon. There is a strong influx of issues around mental health and emotional harmony in our society as a result of the conflicts of internal and external control.
As things external to us change dramatically, we have a choice greater than ever in our modern history, to enhance our own behaviors, and internal or external locus of control, through our self-efficacy, to rise to the occasion of transformation, and evolution. This requires healthy mental energies, allowing us to recognize what is of value to us.
How are we facilitating or impeding our behavior at this time, and what is valuable to us creating a sense of motivation and development. As we explore the core capacity for control, it is important that we center that control internally on to our mastery and evolution at this time and stop, through abuse of power, misunderstanding, judgment, and dissonance trying to control others. Now more than ever, we need to seek source and relationship to what is important, so that we can show up in our families and communities in alignment and support others through their own behavioral changes.
This is a psychologically difficult time for American society and a historic time of self-transformation, which may lead to the evolution of transformation that socially and culturally will provide us new frameworks of support and development in the future. It is not a time to control others, to hold onto waste and poison ourselves with the resistance to change.
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