Want to know why so many people are feeling ill at ease, frustrated, more anxious and depressed lately?
I’m betting one of the biggest reasons is control.
Many of us feel like we have lost control of our lives, our jobs, and everything in between.
So many things have happened during the pandemic and post pandemic that were way beyond our control and now that the world is opening up we are expecting to feel relieved and ready to jump back into life as it was.
But we can’t.
A lot of time has passed. And a lot of things have changed.
And most of all, we have changed. We just might not realize it though.
We feel unsettled because, for some of us, we are grieving loved ones. Others, have had permanent changes in work or working conditions.
Some of us have been forced to put our dreams on hold, and others are afraid to start dreaming again believing things are never going to get better.
We like things how they used to be and too much change.. good or bad, is added stress that leads us to feel out of control. But in truth, there are very few things in life we really can control in the first place.
That’s why I like this graphic.
It is a great visual of those things in life in which we really have control. And contains those things we can’t control at all. And the reason why we feel so miserable, I’m betting, is because we are so focused on the wrong things.
What We Can’t Control
The Actions of Others
As parents of adult children, this can be one of the most difficult things to accept. Despite our best efforts, we are no longer calling the shots. Nor is it our job to do so anymore. Remember the phrase roots and wings? We had 18 years to help plant deep roots and now, we must give our children the room to spread their wings and fly.
Even though we know their current boyfriend/girlfriend is going to break their heart. Even though we know that job they accepted across the country is iffy at best. In order to keep the peace and feel better with ourselves and to show up as our best self for our children, we have to shift from being their manager to their consultant. And remember as a consultant you offer to offer advice only when asked.
This holds true for friends, co-workers, even those you manage. You are not in control of their actions.
While you may be responsible for the outcome at work, ultimately job performance is up to the individual and to be dealt with accordingly;.
The outcome of your efforts
All we can do is show up, do the best we can, and then let life happen as it will.
It truly is as simple as that. If only it were easy.
We live in a world where one plus one equals two so we automatically think that if we do the work, it will all work out. But that is not always the case. It’s great when that happens. But when it doesn’t we have to able to accept it. Maybe some will call it failure. Others will call it a mistake, others, will accept if for what it is, learn what they can, and move on from there.
The people who choose the latter, are usually the ones who feel so much better.
Oh the past. Past relationships, past mistakes, past actions are all things that can make us cringe the moment we think of them Which one of us hasn’t thought: If only I could go back in time, I would do so many things differently.”? I don’t think there is one of who hasn’t done that at least once. But you can’t change what has already happened. All you can do is learn from it and move on. And each time you take the time to think about those negative things in the past you begin to suffer all over again. Take from it what you can do differently now and learn the lesson. then leave it where it belongs: in the past. Start setting your eyes on where you want to go, not the places you have been.
No one is promised tomorrow.. and while we can plan for the future, we can’t control what happens. I learned this lesson back in 1998 when my husband and I were planning our family and pregnant with our second son.
What we planned for the future was a family of four. What happened was our son died.
Even though we knew there were complications in the pregnancy, we soon realized the only thing we could do was control what we were doing in the moment. We had to surrender the rest to God.
And truth be told, it was the hardest thing we ever had to do. And we were not always successful. But what I can tell you from personal experience is the more we tried to “control” the future, the more worried, afraid and scared of the unknown we were. In the times we surrendered, we felt more at peace.
The Opinions of Others
This one is probably one of the most difficult ones for people.. especially if you are a woman AND a people pleaser.
We want to take care of people and we want people to like us, but the minute we run into push back, we tend to place the needs and opinions of others ahead of our own. Why? Because we are afraid of what others will think of us.
But it’s not just women. Men get caught up in it too.
How we dress, what we prefer, who we love, what we decide to do for a career, heck, how we live our lives, is and always should be 100% up to us regardless of what others think or say about us.
If they don’t pay your bills, they don’t get a say in how you live your life.
How Others Take Care of Themselves
How many times do you see someone you love, doing something not healthy for them? How many times have you preached to them not to drink, or smoke, or to eat healthier or exercise?
Now let me ask you this? How is that working?
I’m betting it’s not. You have to love people for who they are, and where they are, and as long as you keep worrying about what they are or are not doing, there is only one person suffering. And that person is you.
Unless you are parenting minor children, you have no control over how others are caring for themselves.
The only exception is if they are unable to care for themselves and that is a different story altogether. This would be a time where you could gather a few people and try to help that person receive the care they need. But again, you still have no control over the outcome.
What Happens Around Me.
How many of us look outside and let the weather determine out mood?
I like my weather warm and sunny, maybe a slight breeze. Anything outside of that is less than preferable, but since I don’t live in the tropics and since most days it’s cloudy and cool, that could lead me to be miserable most of the time.
What a waste of a good day. Just like we can’t control the weather, we can’t control much of what happens outside of our thoughts and actions.
The only thing you can control is your thoughts, and actions, so why waste precious days, hours and minutes trying to control anything else?
What Other People Think of Me
We are all human and we all made mistakes. As long as you are good with you. That’s all that matters.
As Steve Harvey says,“People’s Opinion of You is None of Your Business, Nor Should You Make It Yours.”
Now the you know what you can’t control, it should give you the permission you need to relax and let life flow with a little more ease.
Post pandemic my mantra is slow, flow, ease, peace. And it has helped me to be mindful of my feelings and inner well being.
When I slow down and let life flow, I feel more at ease. I have to let go of what I can’t control.
And when I focus on what I can control, that is when I find peace.
And that is what we will focus on in part two.