2019 / January

Standing in the way of control


Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

How do we maintain motivation in the face of challenge? For most of us maintaining our resolutions is far more difficult than making them, even when the commitment is relatively minor.

This week’s song Standing in the Way of Control by Gossip is one of reflection and encouragement to people seeking change in the face of adversity.

The context of the song was President Bush’ proposed amendments to marriage laws in the United States which would have outlawed same-sex marriage across the country. Gossip’s lead singer, Beth Ditto, explained that people she knew felt cheated and hopeless, and so the song was written as an encouragement not to give up. She added that when civil rights were challenged it was important to stick together and keep fighting.

Well, I’m hoping that as you read this, the struggles you might be facing might not be as significant as those of civil rights, but it strikes me that the same principles are relevant for many of our challenges in life.

Whatever the struggle, it often doesn’t take much for us to feel our backs [are] against the wall. When this feeling comes it is easy to be overwhelmed by emotion and for this to begin to erode our more positive and true sense of self. So how to react?

The song urges its part not giving in and part trusting your friends. One of the key stating points for maintaining resolution is working from a secure sense of self. Constantly reminding and reaffirm ourselves of who we are is a good starting point, but for most of us, we need to have friends around us who will encourage us to this aim. So, when we have a temporary slip in our journey forward, and usually we all do, we have people who will remind us, we are not failures, but have simply made a mistake. As the song says, you’ll do it all again so don’t stop trying (paraphrased slightly). What’s important isn’t that we may have lost a battle along the route, but that we keep fighting.

The opportunity for us, when we feel everything and anything has control of our lives, is therefore, to take the decision to keep on standing in the way of control over the things with which we are struggling, and we feel might control us. This may be external forces challenging our civil rights, but equally may be the inner voice which tells us we have failed and have no self-control. Only then can we really live our lives.


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