Let’s face it. We all like the feeling of being in control most of the time. After all, when we are in control of our lives, we feel good, smart, secure and confident. But what happens when we are faced with situations beyond our control?
Sometimes when things occur in life that we cannot control, it causes worry, stress, frustration, and sometimes even anger. Is it normal to try and figure out a way to gain that control or is it better to just try and “let go”?
If you find yourself struggling at times over trying to cope with things outside your control, you are not alone. One of the most difficult things for us humans to master is to learn how to cope with things we cannot. But learning to accept things we cannot change will lessen our stress and keep us in a positive frame of mind, which will eventually lead to a healthy, more peaceful life and a greater sense of well-being.
How does one accept things beyond her control? When faced with a situation, analyze it first. Ask yourself if you think you will have any effect on the final outcome. Finally, accept the situation for what it is and do the very best you can to deal with the situation in a healthy way.
As a working mother and a wife, I tend to feel like I am always worrying about something. With three teenagers, it’s hard not to worry! But over time, I realized that my worrying doesn’t really help the situation at hand. In fact, my health was at stake. I felt stressed, my blood pressure was a little higher than normal, and I had trouble sleeping some nights, not able to clear my mind before bedtime. I am learning day by day that there are things in life I just cannot control or change, no matter how much worrying I do. I am learning to focus on what I can control instead of what I cannot. I am learning to accept things I cannot change and look at life differently, in a positive light.
Most importantly, I am learning that I might not be able to control things that happen, but I am able to control how I choose to respond to things that happen.
What things can we change, or control in life? Well, there are many. What we do, for example, our present (and future) behavior, how we spend our time, how we respond to others, the strengths and talents we develop, and our relationships. We can also change our habits, the choices we make, our levels of fitness and nutrition, our responsibilities, and the paths in life we decide to take.
We also can control our communication – how, when, how and what we say, our facial expressions, our image, our trust level, our respect to ourselves and to others, our attitude, and our personal hygiene.
What we know can also be controlled, such as our knowledge of things, our self-image, our expertise, and our understanding. What we think, our goals and values, our style, our balance, the love and compassion we have for ourselves and for others, our fears, and our enemies are also controlled by us.
Our aspirations, our goals, our dreams and even our role models are all controlled from within.
Some examples of things that we have wasted precious energy on and still CANNOT change are the past, human nature, personality traits of ourselves or others, relatives, talent, and others who do not want to change. Learn to recognize and accept these and other things that are out of our control and spend your energy on choice making your life better.
Sometimes there are instances that we desperately want to control, like bad habits, or even someone else’s behavior in a relationship. When it comes to bad habits, learning to control our response is the area we can control. As for trying to change or control another person’s behavior, the only thing we have control over is how we relate to that person and how we treat them, how we react to them, our opinions, judgements, and our influence on them.
We all know we cannot change or control what has happened in the past, but we can instead choose to change ourselves and our outlook by taking responsibility for ourselves and apologize, forgive, learn, understand, purge, look at the present and move forward.