Epictetus: What is in our control?

What is in our control is a difficult question to answer. It’s a question couched in fear. Fear is a feeling which takes us back to our reptilian brain and automatic responses. This part of our brain tends to be rigid and compulsive. If we find ourselves stuck here we don’t learn to adapt. We all wish to be able to control the amount and intensity of the fear that we experience. The answer to the question, “What is in our control” is frustrating and can serve to increase anxiety because there is no answer to that question, at least not an answer that some will find acceptable.

Our response to life situations is the only thing in our control.  We all have the ability to make a choice, the choice to not react to the primitive impulses we feel.

As a therapist I have been asked a lot of questions about COVID-19, none of which I can answer. The question, among others and what is on minds of most people’s mind is, “When will this be over?” Of course I can’t answer that question, no one can.

That’s us as human beings. We’re logical beings. We need to know the answers to things. The answers, we feel will give us control or at least a sense of control. Control is a relative thing. We fear our lives without strict control yet we also complain when we believe that others are trying to exert control over us. There is no control. There is only the illusion of control.

To become healthy it is important to let go of the unhealthy emotions. Letting go is a process that most of us are not taught. We are taught to stand and fight for anything less is perceived as weakness and no one wants to be perceived as weak. It is important to note that there is nothing good or bad in our daily lives. We decide what is good or bad, right or wrong when we place intrinsic value on those definitions thus making those things good or bad. These are simply judgements. We believe our judgements to be right and good while those of others especially if they go against our intrinsic value system as wrong or bad.

When we realize and accept this truth, the process of letting go becomes easier.



2 thoughts on “Epictetus: What is in our control?

  1. Reblogged this on From guestwriters and commented:
    In a period when so many people would have more time for each other, being able to take a long vacation or a long ‘Winter sleep’ so many seem to worry for matters they have not in control and shall not be able to have in control whatsoever.

    Letting fear go is for many difficult, but all answers lie in themselves. But it also could help a lot when they would dare to go looking for the best solution to get rid of all worries by finding the saviour who can bring them under the Wings of the Most Precious One Who is Master of everything, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. When peole would trust Him more life for them would be much easier.

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