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My string of control

My string of control
By Elizabeth Filips • Issue #33 • View online
I used to love untangling things when I was younger. My grandma’s strings and yarn, laces and knots, thin necklaces and jewellery that others would throw away in frustration when they couldn’t make the strands straight. It then was my turn to go in and patiently enjoy untangling the mess. As an adult, this is the same way I think of my mind. 
Bear with me for a second. What are you a control freak about? Almost everyone I know is a bit controlling over something related to themselves. They want to control the way others perceive their intelligence, their humour, their looks. 
What do you hold onto tightly? Is it the fact that others might find out you’re quite scared of something? Have you also felt deep down that you’re just not that likeable, or lovable even? What do buy to seem cooler, what do you not spend money on to seem cooler? What friendships have you held onto just a bit too long because the person is “generally successful and respected”?
I’ve often wondered why I’m so tightly wound up in many ways, but while I try to untangle myself, I always end up with a string that’s a combination of messed up knots and straight stretches. 
I hate being wound up, and whenever I recognise a patch of messy issues and insecurities and anxiety-driven-control - I unwind it, with therapy or thinking or writing or reading or just jumping in the deep end and forcing myself into situations where I have to let go of the mess. 
But why do I think I can afford creating the mess in the first place? I hold onto my ego and control so tightly, as though I can afford to. I hold onto my perceived dignity as though I won’t lose it all so very soon. None of my current insecurities will matter when the day comes that I can’t walk on my own, or sit up straight, or properly talk and think at all.
If I’m lucky to live long enough, I will lose all of what I consider dignity at some point, so why do I so tightly hold onto it now? Why do I stop myself from feeling, doing, acting? Why do I try to control so much and potentially experience so little?
Time to stop endlessly messing about with strings in my mind.
Wishing you a great week,
Elizabeth xxx

🪄 Quote of the week
People are not as limited as much by their condition as their attitude to it.
🖤 My Favourite Things This Week
Book: I read and summarised Rip it Up here, a book that throws our notions of happiness and personality on its head. Definitely worth a read!
Book: The book of beautiful questions which I summarised here was also a great read with questions and prompts to help reconsider your own life and have deeper and more meaningful conversations with others.
Book: With the end in mind is the book that prompted this newsletter and has had me thinking about just how very short life is. I’ve summarised it more here, and it’s definitely worth reading if you enjoyed Mortals by Atul Gawande :)
🎥 YouTube video this week:
The Scientific Reason You Procrastinate
The Scientific Reason You Procrastinate
🎙 Podcast this week:
New ways I overcome pain
New ways I overcome pain
Did you enjoy this issue?
Elizabeth Filips

Heya, I'm Elizabeth, a medical student and painter in London. Some Sundays I write about exploring meaning, productivity, little pleasures and just navigating life. And some of my favourite things that week.

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