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Letting Go Of That Which We Can't Control

Saturday, May 11, 2019

If there is one thing I've learned over the past 5 years, it is that sometimes things happen over which we have no control. What we do in those situations and how we handle them is what develops us as human beings.

We do have options when handling a life that is rolling out of control and thus is out of our hands. Here are a few.

One, throw your hands up and scream at the unfairness of the situation. (Very tempting!) Let yourself wallow in a pool of self pity (also tempting) and give up. Life is too hard, why bother.

Two, get angry, stay angry, be unpleasant to family, friends and strangers on the street. You don't deserve this! Talk about it ad nauseum to anyone who will listen.

Three, cry "Whoa is me!" Whine incessantly, blame others, God, genetics, the economy and everything else that comes to mind.

Four, struggle to gain control over the situation. Research everything and try to implement your new found knowledge to change the situation. Continue to try, try try - spinning your wheels and exhausting yourself in an effort to change that which is beyond your control. (Yes, on occasion, I have done this!)

Five, assess the situation and find out everything you can to understand what is going on. What can you do, what can't you do? How can you look at the situation differently? Is there any kind of silver lining or lesson to take away from the situation? Talk about your feelings with a person you trust and/or a professional. Take action in those areas you can control and learn to accept those you can't control. Notice that I didn't say we have to like it.

It is fairly obvious that the fifth choice is the one that would probably be the most emotionally healthy for me. The thing I've always struggled with is adjusting to an uncontrollable situation. From the get go, I try not to confuse adjustment with liking. It’s normal to be angry and/or strongly dislike those situations. I think how we deal with the lack of control is key. I equate the adjustment (giving up control of the uncontrollable), to forgiving someone for something. The forgiving isn't for the person who did the unthinkable, it is for me.

We may not be able to control a situation but we CAN control how we react to it. You see, I don’t want to be the person in options one, two, three and four. I want to be happy. I want to be able to deal with my life in a healthy way. I want to turn the situations into a positive growing opportunity. I can do it. You can do it. We can do it!
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