When you ask the question “what is your most fundamental fear in life?” an overwhelming number of us respond with “losing control.” Because of this deep-rooted fear, we invest an immense amount of time and energy trying to control every aspect of our every waking moment.
The problem is, you can’t lose control of something that was never in your power to begin with. The behavior of others, their choices, their actions, their views, their expectations of you, the past, the ever-changing world around you – you simply can’t control any of these circumstances, no matter how much energy you might commit to doing so. But you can control how you respond to these circumstances.
You can’t control how other people choose to treat you, but you can decide the behaviors you will tolerate. You can choose to invest in a relationship, but as hard as it is to accept, you can’t control whether they will invest the same effort in you. You can decide how and when to enforce your boundaries, but you can’t control if people will actually respect them. You can’t control whether someone falls deeply in love with you, but you can choose to fall in love with yourself. You can’t control if you get your heart broken, but you can choose to walk away from an unhealthy relationship and allow yourself to heal. You can’t control what happened in your past, but you can decide what you will do going forward. You can’t control the future, but you can choose the little behaviors and habits you do each day that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
You can’t control whether you will get sick, but you can decide what you put into your body and how much physical activity you do. You can’t control the number of hours in the day, but you can choose how to spend those hours, if you want to be productive or give yourself time to rest. You can’t control how people behave on social media, but you can select who to engage with. You can choose how you communicate and present yourself in a job interview, but you can’t control whether they will decide to hire you. You can’t control the scary things you hear on the news every day, but you can choose how much information you consume. You can decide your own view of the world around you, but you can’t control how someone else perceives that same world, whether that be politically, religiously, or spiritually.
The truth is, you simply can’t control other people or external circumstances, but that doesn’t matter, not really. Because everything truly important and meaningful in your life is generated from you – happiness, self-belief, motivation, purpose, strength, self-love, and contentment. Therefore, rather than focusing on what you can’t help, try accepting the responsibility of what you can: yourself.
You control the things you say. You control when to listen. You control your behavior. You control your decisions. You control how many risks you take. You control your influences. You control how kind you are to yourself. You control how you spend your time. You control how you respond to others. You control your level of honesty. You control how you interpret situations. You control your beliefs. You control your judgments. You control your view of the world around you.
Understanding what is truly in your power and learning to accept it will award you with a new level of peace, freeing your mind from the constant stress caused by worrying about the inconsequential.