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13 Quotes About Letting Go of Control

The unforgettable chorus of one of the most popular songs of the 2010s was simple: “Let it go.” It resonated for a reason: The simple but mighty phrase is not only a solid piece of advice, but a life mantra in the making.

Sure, letting go of control can be difficult. It often means stepping into the unknown, which can be scary. It also requires having trust — sometimes in other people, in systems, or in the ever-mysterious universe — and that can be a difficult thing to do, for many reasons. But there are very few things we can truly control in life, and learning to embrace uncertainty can be freeing.

Surrendering to the moment can help us let go of the stress of trying to force a certain outcome, and provide opportunities for new joys to come our way. It allows us to be more present and live more fully. Like the old Doris Day song goes, “Que será, será / Whatever will be, will be.” It’s not about throwing up your hands in resignation, but rather lifting the burden of worrying about the things we can’t influence or predict.

Letting go of control doesn't mean giving up or being passive in life. It simply means recognizing that there are some things we can’t do anything about, and that focusing on what we can do to make the best of the situation will often bring surprising results. Here are some thoughtful quotes to help us remember that it’s OK to let go.

Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.
Epictetus, philosopher

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Enjoy what you can and ignore the rest. Let’s not waste any energy fighting things that are outside our control.
Paulo Coelho

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If you worry too much about what might be, and wonder too long about what might have been, you will ignore and completely miss what is.
Marc and Angel Chernoff, authors

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The only real battle in life is between hanging on and letting go.
Shannon L. Alder, author

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Life is to be lived, not controlled.
Ralph Ellison, author

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The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
Julia Cameron, author

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Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.
Steve Maraboli, author

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You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor

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Radical acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now.
Marsha M. Linehan, psychologist

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Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.
Eckhart Tolle

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I am very happyBecause I have conquered myself
And not the world.
Sri Chinmoy, spiritual leader

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Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.
Ann Landers, motivational writer

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Learning to live is learning to let go.
Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist

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Photo credit: Matej Divizna/ Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

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About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
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