Doctor Neha: Hi everybody, and welcome. Today I’d like to welcome our special guest, Jacob. Hello!
Jacob: Thanks for having me.
Doctor Neha: Absolutely! Jacob and I have spent around a year and a half working together, and he agreed to have a conversation so all of you could learn. I’m so glad you’re here.
What have you been thinking about? What do you want to discuss?
Jacob: I’ve struggled with control in my life. At times, it’s served me well and sometimes not so well. I was wondering: What is the correct amount of control to have?
Doctor Neha: That’s a great question. Tell me about a time when you felt like you were in control. And tell me about another time when you found yourself out of control.
Jacob: A time that I was really out of control was when I was in college. I got really sick and had to come home. I lost control of my body and my “college life.” It didn’t feel great to not have a choice to be with my friends and not be able to finish my semester. It felt like I lost a lot of control and didn’t have a choice.
Through the process of learning how to get well and heal myself, I’ve discovered new ways to have some control—by making sure my environment is clean, by determining what I eat and my specific healing treatments, and being able to make a decision about whether or not to go back to school. Having some choices gave me back the feeling that I was in control of my life.
Doctor Neha: Did losing your health surprise you? Or did you know it was coming?
Jacob: I didn’t know it was coming. I was definitely surprised.
Doctor Neha: Okay. When we get surprised, that’s usually when things feel like they’re out of control. It’s as if you were driving down the road, and somebody swerved and cut you off. It brings up that adrenaline, fight or flight feeling, that nobody likes.
When you’re in high school your class schedules are given to you, your parents tell you how long you can hang out with your friends, your parents give you an allowance and tell you when you can use the car. These controls, whether you like them or not, keep you in line, and protect you from experiences of losing control and feeling lost. You were at college, and you finally had a little more control and freedom in your life.
College is a completely different story. You seemingly control your own life. You can eat what you want when you want. You can sleep when you want to. You can party all night long. Essentially, you can do whatever you want. The controls that your parents previously placed on you are gone, and you can run free. But in college, you can actually become surprised and shocked at how easily you can lose control.
You can lose control with academics. You can get sick. It can happen in so many arenas of your life. The example that you’re giving about going off to college really occurs in any transition in life—like getting a new job, and moving to a new city.
College is practically the opposite of clean. No one washes their clothes for weeks. The bed sheets are almost never changed. When you came back home you realized that you had a choice in picking a clean environment to live in. It’s really interesting because you had a choice the whole time—you just didn’t know you had the choice.
Coming home and getting sick gave you no choice. Do you see the play on that?
Doctor Neha: You didn’t realize you had a choice. Your environment gave you so much freedom at school. You got sick. You were surprised by that. If you wanted to get well, you didn’t have a choice but to focus on your environment, your food, and your healers.
But now you’ve actually realized that it was a choice. You could have chosen to live in a different place, and eat different things. All of those options are at school as well—you just have to find them and make them happen.
How do control and letting go of control work? And what’s the right amount of control to have? The answer is complex. The key is to remember that a weakness is just a strength overused.
Control is a good thing. You want to be aware of your environment, cleanliness, and your schedule. The problem comes in when control gets overused.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you started to control everything that went in your mouth and you would never go out to dinner even when your best friend came in from out of town. Taking care of your health and making all of your food is important. But if you did it to the degree that you never went out, might you miss opportunities?
Tell me, how have you experienced being at home and doing that? Has there been any time that you’ve felt that way?
Jacob: Oh yeah, lots of times.
I would not go places because I didn’t feel comfortable. I made the choice to stay safe. To a certain point that helped me because it kept me from getting sicker, but at a point I realized that I was cutting myself off from the world because I wanted too much control.
Doctor Neha: You were afraid that you were going to get sick again. You wanted to make sure your immune system and your body could handle the food you were putting in it. You wanted to make sure that the air you would be breathing was clean. Those are all amazing intentions, except if they cause you to become isolated, lonely, and upset. That’s too big of a price to pay.
The real question becomes: Can you heal and have an awareness of yourself? If you want to gauge control, the most important thing to focus on is self-trust. You might think it’s about trusting the environment and trusting other people, but all of those are actually about self-trust.
- Will you listen to your own intuition?
- Will you trust your body when it gives you signals?
- Do you trust your own wisdom to let you know if something’s wrong?
- And do you trust you’ll pick up on those signs even earlier than last time?
Jacob: Yeah, I definitely agree.
Doctor Neha: So, how are you going to do that? What’s different from when you were in college and now?
Jacob: Well, I definitely have a lot more self-trust now.
I’m more aligned with myself, what I value, and what I want to do. When I make a choice, I know what I’m choosing, and I know why I’m choosing it. I used to do things but not know why, and everything would get out of control.
Doctor Neha: It sounds like you were letting the outside world dictate your environment, and the choices you were making. Now you use your inner world and how you feel to make your choices about what you engage in and what you do.
Before, you couldn’t trust anything because you would go with the flow of what everybody else was doing. That’s leading from the outside in. Now you lead from the inside out.
There’s a right amount of control for a certain amount of time. You’ll know when you need to adjust because you’ll feel isolated. You’ll feel lonely. And you’ll long for connection. You’ll eventually learn to recognize that and think, “I think I might be controlling my environment a little too much.”
Now that you’ve gotten more in control of your life, does that mean that nothing’s gone wrong since?
Jacob: No, stuff happens all the time.
Doctor Neha: How are you handling those surprises now?
Jacob: Now they’ve transformed into pleasant surprises. There’s always some great learning and lessons that come with them. I actually somewhat get excited for when things are unexpected and I think to myself, “Oh, this is a new opportunity for me to learn, grow, and let things be out of control. I can survive and thrive in this.” It’s very powerful to feel that way now.
Doctor Neha: The way you’re speaking shows how much self confidence you have. I can feel it. What steps would you give someone who’s reading this? What would you tell them? If you could just take a moment and think back to that younger self that was really struggling, what advice would you give that younger version of you?
Jacob: The most important thing is to take the time to learn about yourself.
- What gets you excited?
- What are your pain points?
- What do you value?
- What do you want to control?
Answering those questions is really important in developing your self-trust because you have to look inward before you can turn your gaze to the external environment. That would be my advice to my younger self, and those reading this.
Doctor Neha: That’s great. The truth is once you understand the inner workings of yourself, you notice how much control you need and when you’re using too much. Your emotions will guide you.
You’ve gone inward. You’ve surrounded yourself with people that you think could help teach you about yourself. And you’ve done some reading. You’ve done all these things to learn about the inner workings of yourself.
Now you can gauge what the right amount of control is. You can do that by having a strong sense of self-trust and by listening to yourself. Then you can use your inner world as your GPS system to navigate your external world.
Some of you may struggle with the idea of control and may want more of it because it provides predictability and safety. But in the process, you feel disconnected and may have even lost relationships. It might be time to evaluate what you’re controlling in your life and why. Jacob has done that excellently.
Moving forward, I can’t wait to see how you navigate control and allow yourself to take risks. That’s what it takes to change the world! It’s a balance of control and surrender.
Jacob: I’m excited!
Doctor Neha: I can’t wait to see what happens.
Jacob: Thanks for having me.
Doctor Neha: Bye Jacob!