What Do We Honestly Have Control Over?
I was reading a post from a blog I follow, Breanna’s Blog, and her post was about control. With Breanna’s permission, I used her main idea to make today’s post. Don’t be shy, go ahead and click on the above link to go to Breanna’s blog post on control!
We waste so much time and energy on things that we have no control over, which is not good for our mental wellbeing. We tend to stress over these things and it can create mounds of anxiety that can bring us down. When you think of control, what do you honestly think you have control over? Take a minute to really think about it. If you were to make a list of the things you can control and a list of the things you have no control over, which one do you think would be bigger? Most of you probably already know this answer. Hands down, the list concerning what we can’t control would definitely be much longer. The reason that list is longer is that we can only really control one thing and that is ourselves.
You will always only be able to control yourself, what you do, and what you say. You alone are responsible for your own actions. Anytime anyone talks about how they wish they could control what others do or say I automatically think of the Serenity Prayer. Even if you are not religious, don’t let the word “prayer” scare you away. You can think of the serenity prayer as wise words instead. If you are unaware of what the Serenity Prayer is, it is as follows:
“God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things that I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”-Serenity Prayer
This prayer can definitely be seen as wise words of wisdom. Once you accept that you have no control over what another human being does or says, you may find that you are able to relax a bit more and breathe easier. People were given the gift of free will and we exercise this gift every day by simply being ourselves.
So, tell me, why do we still continue to freak ourselves out when someone does something we don’t like, when we don’t get the promotion we have been hoping for, or when someone says something that just doesn’t sit well with us. I understand that we are only human and sometimes our feelings get hurt, but how we react to and handle these situations is all on us since it is the only thing we have control over. We can either react in a negative way, which can set us up for failure, or we can react in a positive way and learn from this experience.
When we start to learn and keep in mind the things we have no control over it can lead to a happier life with less stress and drama. We may actually start to feel better as well. When something happens you aren’t happy with, try saying the Serenity Prayer to yourself or out loud. If you aren’t religious you can leave the name “God” out of the prayer, or you can insert your own higher power into the equation. Remember that you cannot control the situation no matter how hard you try. Try to think of how you are going to handle the matter at hand. How are you going to react to this negative experience?
Learning to understand what you can’t control can be challenging for some people because it is a new way of thinking and looking at the bigger picture. But if you keep telling yourself, “This is out of my control,” or if you repeat the Serenity Prayer, you can retrain your brain so that you don’t get pushed past your boiling point when something doesn’t go your way.
I have been using this practice myself and have found it extremely beneficial for my mental health. I am only human, however, so even if I don’t get this approach perfect, that is okay. I just have to remind myself that I only have control of myself and try it again next time. Now, more often than not, I am not overreacting to every little thing that happens. I can take it when someone says “no” to me.
I hope someone out there finds this useful. Leave a comment and let me know how you handle things that are out of your control? I would love to know everyone’s opinion on this one. Thanks for reading!
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.