Our world is in turmoil and you may feel out of control. You may have anxiety, dealing with stress or worry and feel out of control. This is a hard feeling to experience. At times it can make you feel hopeless and many spiral into depression.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Instead of focusing on the things that we have no control over, we need to focus on the things that we do. Changing your focus can make a world of a difference in your daily life.
#1- How you allow yourself to be treated
This is a BIG one. People only have the power over you that YOU give them.
Read that again.
That’s right. When someone takes advantage of you, talks to you poorly, or is disrespectful of you, it is your responsibility to stop it. People do what they are allowed. If they know they can take advantage of your giving nature, they will. When you let them know it won’t be tolerated, it will be stopped.
I’m not going to tell you that it will be easy. In fact it will probably be down right uncomfortable. You might even have to have some confrontations. But, think of yourself. Think of what you are allowing in your life. If you want to be treated differently, stop allowing the bad behavior.
#2- How you respond
What really gets your blood boiling? Is it someone tailgating you? Or maybe when your kids leave empty milk containers in the fridge?
Do you get anxious reading the news or social media? Does it worry you endlessly, affecting the rest of your day?
In life, we are going to deal with many things we don’t like, EVERY SINGLE DAY. There will be many people we encounter that we have to deal with regularly, that we just don’t like.
If these are things that we don’t have much say in, but we do control how we respond. You can choose to curse and shake your fists at the driver that made you mad. How did that make you feel? Did it just ramp you up more? Did it set the tone for your day?
When you go in your refrigerator to get something you need and you find it empty, do you yell and scream? How does that fix the issue? What does it do GOOD for you?
If you find yourself getting wrapped up in social media and it gets you feeling anxious and worried, how does that help you?
You can change your responses to better YOU. Everyone is responsible for what they do or say. How you respond to what others do and say is your responsibility. Just like we tell the children at my child care center, just because someone else did something wrong, if you did too, YOU get in trouble for what YOU did. Take time before you respond. Think it through and how it truly effects you.
#3- You Control Your Words
Words are very powerful. They can be well thought out or spoken in the heat of anger or passion. They can cut deep, leave last scars or lift someone up and inspire them. The phrase “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” could not be further from the truth. Words echo in your head. When you least expect it, words from the past will float in your ears.
What kind of words do you want people to be left with from your mouth? Will your words leave scars and hurt or will your words be building blocks towards positivity? You are in control of how you speak to others.
Remember, sometimes words are best left unsaid.
Choose your words wisely.
#4- Your Attitude
Have you ever heard “attitude is everything”? Well, it’s true. Your attitude sets a tone, a mood. Many times those around you will feed off of your attitude. Coming into a room with a negative attitude will affect others.
I’m sure you can think of a time or an experience where someone’s attitude had an affect on you, whether negative or positive. How did that make you feel? Did it change your attitude? Did it help or hurt you?
When dealing with a difficult situation, sometimes all you can control is your attitude about the situation. Having a negative attitude in a difficult situation will simply make the issue more unbearable.
A positive attitude may not change the situation, but it will certainly change how you feel. It will also help change how others around you feel.
#5- How You Treat Others
This is a big one.
The golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Let’s start here. When you treat people how you would like to be treated, that makes a difference. Even when those people don’t treat you kindly, it’s not about them. It’s about you and how you want to feel. You will feel much better about yourself and your interactions with others when you treat people with the same respect you would like in return.
It is difficult to treat others kindly that do not treat you well. Sometimes you want to give them what you feel they deserve. But that behavior only speaks to your character, not to theirs. It’s really hard to remember that and sometime to follow it, but it will make you feel better about yourself.
#6- You Control Your Self-Talk
We are so hard on ourselves. They things we say to ourselves can be brutal. The self talk we really need is positive, encourage and real. Yes, there will be times that you need to call yourself out, but often there is a little too much of that floating around our heads.
Imagine you have a friend that is struggling with the same thing you are. Perhaps self doubt about being a parent. Would you agree with them and say, “Yeah, you are a pretty sorry parent. I mean just the other day you hid in the bathroom and ate the last pack of M&Ms.”
No, you wouldn’t. You would point out all the amazing things they do as a parent, how good their children are and what wonderful things they are doing for and with their kids. You would encourage them to keep going and that things will get better. Why is it so hard for us to talk this way to ourselves?
It’s as if we have unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Perhaps it’s time to give our self the same grace we extend to others.
#7- You Control Your Actions
It’s not about what happens to you, but rather how you react. Bad things happen all the time to people that don’t deserve them. But it is all in how they react and take action that matters.
Many times you will find yourself in situations of which you have no control. For instance, the current pandemic we find ourselves in. There is little control we have over the different rules and guidelines, BUT we do control how we react to those rules and guidelines.
I think we have seen great innovations over this pandemic and it is largely due to people taking action in positive ways to get through a difficult time. We don’t have to wait until a crisis to do this. We can be aware of our actions and reactions everyday.
Ever had a really bad day where things just kept going wrong? When you have one of those days one thing you can do to help turn that day around is to do something nice, kind or that serves another person. Make some one else’s day great even when yours is going poorly. You will be surprised at how that will change how your day is.
Again, your actions and reactions are a reflection of you and your character, not about others, the situation or issues you are dealing with.
In life we can’t control many things. But knowing what we can control and how to control those things can give us a sense of power. Control what you can and don’t stress about the rest!