What’s Within Your Control?

The short answer?  Yourself.

As adults, we are responsible and accountable for our own actions.  We have the ability to exercise action or restraint when it comes to our behaviors.  For some, this feat can be difficult, especially when we really want something.

You may want it all:  the “perfect” job, relationship, home.  The list can go on and on.  You want to feel good, happy, and secure.  How do you achieve these things?  First of all, “perfect” isn’t exactly attainable and is also subject to definition.  Trying to control whether you get a call back from a job interview, or a call back from the guy or girl you’re dating, or a call back from the real estate agent, may create increased stress and anxiety, since you cannot control the outcome in cases where another individual may be involved in the decision-making process.

How can you exercise control over your actions, then, to work towards positive outcomes?  Giving up control over the things that are outside of your control is a good place to start.  Below are some themes that may occur when we try to control things beyond our ability to do so:

  1.  Give up always having to be right – your perspective on an issue has relevance, but your opinion isn’t the only one out there.  Other people’s viewpoints can at the very least be educating, even if you don’t agree.
  1.  Give up the need to appear perfect – whether it’s physical appearance or social clout or financial wealth, trying too hard in striving for perfection can be exhausting and also anxiety-provoking.  After all, nobody’s perfect!
  1.  Give up being controlling over others – you can’t convince others to do exactly as you do, just because you think it’s the absolute right way.  Everyone is entitled to their own perspective.
  1.  Give up embellishing and/or lying in order to impress others – the need to exaggerate can be a complicated issue, and may represent insecurity or deeper issues.
  1.  Give up envy and competitiveness – these feelings can compromise your personal emotional well-being.  You may need to self-evaluate so that you don’t always compare yourself to others.

Think about it:  if you’re focused on controlling the outside world, you may wind up neglecting yourself and your own actions.  If we spend too much time and attention fixating on external factors, we may lose sight of our own goals and find that we aren’t getting anywhere, and may be making ourselves miserable.  Solution?  Redirect your energy and attention towards making choices that are within your control, which can then enhance your own sense of independence, empowerment, and well-being.

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