Taking Control of Any Situation by Controlling the Self
Within an article I wrote recently, I had made the statement and suggestion that in order to overcome rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD), you should "open yourself up to public criticism willingly, and take control of every situation before it can take control of you."
Much like what occurs with most anything I write, I failed to be concise while also getting the proper message across; I ended up being vague. A fellow author stated that this topic alone would be worth preparing an article for and, as you can see, I wholly agree. Such an important statement is deserving of a breakdown and analysis.
In order to break down this statement, I think putting it into the proper steps to take to accomplish your final goal would be best. First, however, I need to explain what the underlying sentiments of that statement even are.
Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)
When I stated that an individual should open themselves up to public criticism and take control of every situation before it can take control of them, I said this within the context of discussing rejection sensitive dysphoria. Immediately, to ask this of someone suffering RSD, it can seem like an impossible request requiring leaps and bounds of progress from the sufferer. That isn't completely wrong in its assessment, but I think it's the connotations of control that really confuse things.
By opening yourself up to criticism publicly and willingly when rejection is what you fear most, you've made the conscious decision to step in the fighting ring rather than waiting to be sucker-punched. In order to train their body and mind, a fighter practices by fighting; in that same vein, I suggest welcoming rejection rather than fearing it! Essentially, you can't control a situation that you fear by avoiding that situation.
This is where the idea of control comes in, and I don't mean throttling the problem until it submits to you and you can shape and mold it as you please. Control, in a situation such as where you are trying to overcome a fear of rejection, is really only a matter of controlling the way you feel about the perceived rejection you are being offered. If you open yourself up to it willingly then you can see the rejection coming, you can be prepared, and you don't need to have that gut-wrenching knee-jerk reaction when the blow finally lands.
How do you decide to face one of your biggest fears by immersing in it, though? If you can just control it, then you wouldn't have the issue to begin with, right? Surely, if this were as easy as the idea of, "taking control," then issues like RSD would not exist?
These are the questions I'd like to give you the answer to today because I think we can turn mountains into molehills with a few complex, but easy steps.
Step One: Recognize the Problem
In order to take control of every situation, we must first control the self, and in order to control the self, we must first recognize why it is we have lost control to begin with. The reason why we are seeming to lose control could rightly be called the main issue, the problem, and categorizing that problem can be as much as half of the battle. When you can dissect a problem down to each and every strand of its DNA, if you will, then you can begin to formulate a plan for pulling it out by its roots!
In this case, my problem is rejection sensitive dysphoria and that problem has many broken layers in need of rectifying. I have a deep fear of rejection that stems from a lack of proper parental affection shown to me as a child, suffering from bullying from teachers, adults, family, and friends, and having no one to mentor me like a good father would do for their son. Other people's judgments and my own perceived shortcomings can strike me at my core.
This hypersensitivity that can rightly be called RSD is the core of the problem that I currently want to overcome. By recognizing this, I have effectively compartmentalized myself away from the mundane nature of most daily stressors that would otherwise muddle my treatment of the underlying problem. I took a sea of problems and turned it into a puddle, or at least made the tsunamis into waves that I can surf upon if you can forgive my use of metaphor.
In simplifying my problem through recognizing the roots, I can move onto the next step of asking how to go about conquering the problem.
Your goal should always be to turn mountains into molehills. You can't be asked to realistically move mountains, but you can certainly make mincemeat of a molehill. Take a complex problem and simplify it for yourself rather than look at it as a monumental obstacle!
Step Two: Strategize and Plan
Formulating a strategy or a plan for tackling a problem is probably the easiest of all the steps you could take. You've dissected your problem and you understand it at the DNA level, you're ready to start plotting against the problem and all its pitfalls; but how do you solve a problem that stems from within you? That's what you need to ponder deeply, and my suggestion is that since the problem comes from within you, you make self-targeting strategies.
In the case of my rejection sensitive dysphoria, I need to figure out how to overcome my deathly fear of rejection in all its forms. There's no way I can overcome my fear of rejection by avoiding the risk of rejection altogether, nor should I want to, and thus I need to decide what the best approach to rejection is. Like the title of this article implies, I'm going to choose to actively formulate a plan for controlling myself and any situation I may face.
My strategy to actively control myself looks a little something like this:
- I fear rejection, so I'm going to choose to open myself up to it.
- By opening myself up to it willingly, knowing rejection in some form is coming, I thereby control the context of the rejection being offered.
- By controlling the rejection being offered, I am prepared to accept or dodge the blows at will.
- Rather than avoiding the bad feelings rejection causes, I can take the time to analyze them and whether or not there is any truth behind them.
- In taking the time to analyze fact from fiction calmly, fixing the problems as they are shown to be present and accepting what I cannot change, I have taken control of the self.
- In taking control of the self, I have begun to overcome my problem with RSD.
- In overcoming my problem with RSD, I will have broadened my horizons for new experience and experimentation without emotional trauma.
This all sounds fine and dandy, and plans regularly do sound better than they play out, so that leads us into our next big step!
In all things you do, never fear failure! Create a plan knowing that failure at some point is inevitable, but failure is not a lack of progress. Failure is a telltale sign that progress has occurred!
Step Three: Fail Your Way to Success!
We all fear drastic and irrevocable failure in the big plans we carry out, and that fear can stop us from pursuing success, to begin with. If you are afraid to pursue success because of the failure it will inevitably bring at some point, you are choosing not to recognize the importance of failure as an integral piece of the puzzle. Failure is not something to fear, it is a lesson that needs to be learned for the next go around.
Take for example my failure to show up to a group hiking event because I felt utterly dismissed and shot down by someone's thumbs-up emoji response to me prior to the event. I did not show up and that was a failure to confront my RSD, even further I failed to confront it when they messaged me to ask where I was and I ignored them. This failure has shown me not that I have failed in overcoming RSD, but that my road to success is still needing to be traveled and that setbacks are still a temporary option for me.
In recognizing my failure I haven't come to an impasse, I have come to a golden opportunity of proving to myself that my RSD cannot dictate my life's doings anymore. I could accept that I felt rejected and dismissed then run away from confrontation forever, but I'd only be cementing the idea that my fear is acceptable rather than conquerable. This is where the last step comes in, and it is the hardest step to accomplish outright.
Final Step: Recognizing Every Success
In any situation, but most definitely in self-help situations, recognizing your every success is the hardest and most crucial piece of the puzzle. We wouldn't be here discussing this if we didn't have problems accepting things for what they are and success is one of those things we keep seemingly elusive with our own critical thoughts. As of now and despite my initial failure to overcome my RSD, I've come back to the hiking group strong and with renewed confidence.
In failing to show up to the hike, giving in to the fear and paranoia my RSD caused, I've recognized the success I've had in recognizing my shortcomings within this specific context. It was a success to immediately recognize that I overreacted, to open up about it publicly, and to return to that same group to explain exactly what went wrong with me. By opening up about my feelings I was accepted by the hiking group, and they understood why I'd feel the thumbs-up was totally dismissive and rude.
Opening myself up to the public through my writing gave me the confidence to present my problems to the group I blew off for no good reason. Despite my failure to show up to the hike, I've now shown myself and proven to those around me that it is better to face your fears head-on than to hide away from them and the situations that can bring them to the forefront. I took control of the situation by taking control of myself, and that is an irreplaceable lesson learned!
Do you prefer to face your problems head-on, or do you have a less direct approach?
Don't Be Afraid to Reach Out!
Each and every time I come to find that I have failed to conquer my problems, I always stumble upon a deeper and important lesson in sharing my experience with my perceived failures. I reach out in my writing, or to those readily accessible to me in any medium I can utilize, and I come to discover that reaching out solidifies positive lessons. Even when someone seeks to use my stories against me, I come back stronger than ever before!
So, if not for me then for yourself, do not be afraid to reach out to the communities in which you choose to be a part and immerse in. You don't need to shoulder the burden of your emotions alone, and sharing your burden often lifts the load off another's shoulders as well. It never suits anyone's tastes to feel alone, and it cannot be expressed enough that a helping hand is always waiting for you to reach out in request!
You are not alone in any struggle you are facing, you are stronger and more amazing than you give yourself credit for; it's time you take control of yourself so that you can see just how powerful you are!
Take this world by the horns and ride it to success!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.