Do you ever feel frustrated because your life seems out of control and you just can’t get it together?
This is a common complaint for many people in this fast paced, competitive world in which we live and work. What often happens is that some people experience these feelings because they want to be in control – of everything. Others think they have no control and they are a victim of what’s going on around them, other people, events or circumstances. Both think life “should” be different than it is. It should not be so challenging! You can see why people feel frustrated and overwhelmed.
What can you do about it? Try this exercise. Focus on a particular thing you’re trying to do and are feeling frustrated about. For example, you’re trying to get a new job. On the left side of a sheet of paper, list all of the things you have control over. On the right side of the paper, list all the things you can’t control. For example, you can control what you wear on the job interview, how well groomed you are, what you put on your resume, where you send it, what you know about the company before you go on the interview, etc. You can’t control the economy, that so many others are unemployed, etc.
Now take a look at the list of things you can control and start taking responsibility for them. Empower yourself. You don’t need to be perfect at them, just strive for excellence in your efforts. Perfection is a sign of fear and this will keep you from connecting with others and being your best. When you look at the list of things you can control, you feel more empowered and less of a victim. Taking ownership for what you can do gives you confidence and energy to move forward in a peaceful way and trusting way.
Control can be tricky. We often try to control what is none of our business and don’t control what we can. Then we give up because we feel powerless. People often think by controlling things, you can avoid what threatens you. A more powerful position is to accept responsibility for what you can control. Empower yourself. Stop resisting what is. Accepting responsibility is synonymous with accepting life.
I’ll leave you with Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.