Excerpts from (and links to) our most popular posts about control and self-care.
Control focuses outward, at other people, places and things. So control-seeking pulls me away from myself, away from self-awareness and self-care. The more controlling I am, the more I lose touch with me.
But power focuses inward, on my own needs, thoughts and feelings. So developing power is all about developing the ability to know, understand and accept myself.
It’s no accident that people in recovery use excretory metaphors (“my shit’s coming up,” “get my shit together,” “acts like his shit doesn’t stink”) to describe emotional processes. For feelings are a kind of waste material, the emotional byproducts of experience, just as feces are the physical byproducts of what we eat. And just as physical waste must be expelled from the body, feelings are meant to be expressed – not hidden or stored up.
Self-care is something I preach to all my clients. Most of them have trouble with self-care. Most of them don’t love themselves enough to stop working and rest and relax. Most of them put the needs of their job or their family or their house or their spouse ahead of their own.
And I have this thing I say to the most stubborn clients.
“You remind me,” I tell them, “of a guy I know who wants to drive from New York to California. Except he says, ‘Gas is too expensive, so I won’t buy gas here. I’ll wait to buy gas when I get out to the coast.’”