Crisis and the illusion of control are deeply related. While it makes me feel in control of my surroundings to constantly handle crises, and it is both thrilling and exhilarating to do so, it is also exhausting. No one is ever truly in control of their surroundings. We can only control ourselves, how we react and how we behave.
On the topic of crisis and control, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
Living our lives like Chicken Little can be quite exhausting. Yet so many of us live from one crisis to another! We have become so accustomed to crisis and deadlines that we feel almost lost if we are not putting out some kind of fire. In fact, if we were really honest, there is something dramatic and exciting about handling a crisis. It makes us feel as if we have some modicum of control in our lives.
We have, however, on occasion wondered if all these crises are normal and if there is another way to live life that might be a little less exhausting. Even though we are exhilarated in handling these crises, they do leave us feeling drained. Could it be that these things don’t just happen to us? That we have a hand in their creation?
As we begin to work on our recovery, we see others around us who do not live from one crises to another, and they seem to do just fine . . . they’re even serene.
While it often feels as though crises just continue to happen, that is not necessarily true. Many of the crises I face are due to my own inability to say no or set reasonable expectations for myself and others. I regularly take on far more work than I can reasonably finish in a given amount of time, and instead of setting realistic deadlines, I assume I can be superwoman and do everything all at once. Then I end up killing myself in an attempt to do it all. Is it any wonder I found myself burdened by the crushing weight of anxiety?
While my work is important and certainly there are some urgent tasks that must be met by specific deadlines, the fact is that I work in marketing; no one is going to die if I don’t write this blog post or that ad copy. Nothing is ever that urgent as I make it out to be. Furthermore, people are for the most part reasonable and will understand if I explain that a particular task takes a certain amount of time to complete well. I would do well to approach my work and my life calmly, instead of rushing from one thing to the next. My body and mind will surely thank me for it.