Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hold On Loosely

Back in 1981 I was working full time at a local hardware store and playing in a wedding band on the weekends. I had graduated from college, but had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up -- an issue with which I still seem to struggle from time to time!

In May of that year the southern rock band .38 Special had a top 40 hit with the song Hold On Loosely. Remember the chorus?
Just hold on loosely, but don't let go.
If you cling too tightly you're gonna lose control. 

The band scored another success the following year with Caught Up in You, and continued to tour well into the 2000s. But their signature hits go back to the early 80s -- some 35 years ago -- which makes me feel really old!

I heard the song Hold On Loosely recently and the lyrics got me thinking about how in our relationships the harder we push -- the more resistance we meet. In other words, the more control we try to exert, the less successful the results.

Now far be it from me to extract useful guidance from a rock and roll song that rose only as high as #27 on the pop charts, but I'll go out on a limb here: a lot of problems in our interpersonal relationships arise out of our need to control. Shocking I know, but it's true!

The fact is, more often than not, it's out of fear that we ramp up our need to control -- fear that things will spin wildly out of control if we don't tighten our grip. The reality is that when we recognize that fear and relinquish our need to control, then, and only then, is our stress reduced and our anxiety lessened.

Easier said than done, I know. And there are, indeed, times to step up to the plate and take charge. But they are the exception to the rule. So, in the meantime, take some advice from .38 Special and hold on loosely, but don't let go.

Can you say more about that?