GETTING OVER THINGS THAT YOU CAN'T CONTROL
"You cannot control other people, you can only control how you react to them". When I think about how hard it is to change myself, whether it be a behavior, reaction or conditioned thought to societal expectations, I can only imagine how hard it would be to change someone else. Most of the times in my life that I've had big growth have been when outside forces have changed my circumstances drastically, forcing me to adapt. I am a better person for everything that happened, but those changes to my behaviors and attitude were not something that I had set out to fix.
Last year was stressful at work and at home and looking back, I couldn't have changed any of the circumstances. I got a lot of extra responsibility at work - it was a good change, but I was under a lot of pressure. My husband was going through a great promotion in his career but it meant lots of interviews and being unsure of where we would be geographically. And we had a loss in the family - very unexpected and very hard. I reacted badly to all of those changes except that last; I let outside forces and people at work and in our family really affect my attitudes and behaviors and I was carrying on a lot of anger in my day to day life because of how I was feeling sorry for myself and I thought I was being mistreated.
Around the same time as our loss last year, there was a big misunderstanding with a family member. And a situation that could have been seen at with grace or laughed off, intensified and just got worse and worse. I was really upset, hurt.....and mad. We had been so close, and now they were bad mouthing me, exaggerating, etc... After months of hurt and dwelling on how I was being mistreated, I let it go. I realized that two out of seven billion people in the world should not have this much control over me! I couldn't control their misconceptions, so I just had to be happy and move on. And I did, and long story short, things are almost back to normal. Of course, not everything has a happy ending, but you do need to be able to work through and get past when you've been mistreated. If someone cuts you off in traffic, let it go. Dwelling on it all day and letting it affect your work is only going to hurt you.
What I get hung up is on the something that I think that I should be able to control. I think that I should be able to control the behavior of my toddler, I think that I should be able to control how a presentation goes, I think that I should be able to control what my colleagues and friends think of me.
Expectations.....they are hard to get over sometimes. And what conditions us to have certain expectations in the first place? I believe our upbringing, friends, relationships, and the media all have power over how we view what we should expect of other people and of situations.
But, you have to be flexible and you have to let go a little when something doesn't go your way. There are some gray areas; for example, in parenting - can we control everything? No. Can we be proactive and make sure our children are rested and well fed so that they have better capability to handle frustrations? I'd like to think so, but it isn't always the case.
I get frustrated when I am trying so hard to be proactive and organized and things still don't go as planned. I've learned that in those cases, I have to let it go. Focusing on what went wrong will not change the fact that it went wrong. Learn a little bit and move on.
Have a sense of humor
This can be so hard especially when you have visualized so clearly how a situation should go. When you have done everything possible to ensure that things go right and they still don't - you have to laugh it off and go with the flow.
Plan as much as you can, then let it go
Everyone is afraid of rain on their wedding day. The weather is out of our control! The best you can do is have a back up plan in case it rains and then go enjoy your day.
Feeling sorry for yourself and dwelling on how you are being mistreated by others is only hurting you. Put a smile on your face, work through your emotions internally, and move on. If you have to have a ritual to move past an everyday inconvenience, do it. Some people visualize letting the thought go; visualize yourself putting that thought on a ship and let it sail out to sea.
In "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, he talks about our thoughts being separate from ourselves. Meaning that we do not have to associate ourselves with our negative thoughts. Our mind is very good at bringing up thoughts that will only cause negativity and anger. When we dwell on these negative thoughts, they have a snowball effect and consume us. Visualize yourself looking down at the negative thought and let it go.
When I start to think about all of the wonderful things going on in my life and family, it is very hard to get hung up on someone's misconception of me. I woke up today, that is a privilege many people didn't have.