I find control is an interesting concept. It interests me because I don’t see myself as a Type A personality or a controlling sort, but with the mindfulness word I have been doing, I am becoming more and more aware of just how often I do indeed try to have things turn out my way.
I am not saying this makes me an awful person, on the contrary, I see it as a very human quality, to want to have things turn out our way. But the question then becomes how do we handle things when it doesn’t. How do we deal with rejection, with not getting things our way?
Do we just take it in stride? I like to think that I do just that, as a part of life on life’s terms and something that is what it is and therefore I need to deal with. But up until recently, I used to try and resist this reality at all costs. One of the most common reactions I found myself guilty of was blaming others in my life who are closest to me; not a very mature or pleasant quality for me to be proud to admit.
But, truthful nonetheless.
What I understand is that one of the first steps involved is in understanding what I truly am able to have control over and what I’m not. When I was a teenager, I remember having a crush on a senior who I wanted ‘love me in return’ in the worst way. He, on the other hand, didn’t feel the same. But I was not prepared to accept the truth of the situation. I wanted him to care for me and did not understand or accept that my continuing to try to get him to care for me would not change the situation. The reality was that I could do absolutely nothing, from involving myself as the assistant coach for the boy’s baseball team because he was on it, to changing my hair style, to losing weight…none of the changes I made in me, changed the result.
The next step is being able to determine the difference between what I do have control over and what I might like to have control over, but do not. This was one of the most difficult things for me to learn and accept. AND it still is difficult. Some of the things that I want are things, like with everybody else, that do not happen. So, when I feel I am doing things differently to get them to happen, I easily begin to perceive other people as needing to do things differently as well – – – and why is that? In order for them to help me get my way.
In other words, I am not doing things differently at all – I still am working on getting things my way, not learning how to care for myself better at those times when things don’t go my way. As I said, I still struggle with this one from time to time, but I am more aware of it now than I’ve ever been. I am learning to make myself and my feeling frustrated at the outcome, my focus. I put my energy into taking care of myself and giving myself the permission I need to be upset and frustrated and still love myself even with the less than perfect reaction to disappointment and set-backs.
And by doing this, I care for myself in a more loving way and HAVE done exactly what I needed to do, change the things I truly do have control over; myself, my feelings and my reactions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!