Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with feeling powerless. Things come and go and people change; at some points in my life I’ve had the overwhelming feeling like I had no say in what life would throw my way and at times that’s made me feel like I should just give up. However, I’m happy to be writing to tell you that I came across a quote which really began to shift the way I process my thoughts and today I would like to share my perspective with you:
“We can't control the things we can't control.”
It's hard not to care about or get caught up worrying about things you can't control-whether your friends cancel plans, someone breaks a promise, or unexpected weather occurs that you hadn’t planned for. From my perspective, the major problem about this is that caring about things you can't control takes your time, energy, and focus away from being thoughtful and intentional about the things you can control. After reading the quote above, when I was finally able to slow down my thoughts and really get to processing, I asked myself “why am I wasting so much of my time and energy on things I cannot change?” After some reflection, I came to the conclusion that it was because I felt that the strongly negative impacts of uncontrollable variables were unfair to me and often felt like maybe if I did one thing differently, it wouldn't have happened the way it did. I sat with that for a while until I realized I'm now being unfair to myself. By not letting go of what I cannot control, I am allowing negativity and resentment to hold power over me. Instead I want to be choosing to focus my energy towards things I do have control over. For example, instead of stressing about something unkind someone once said to me, I could use that negative experience and let it empower me to choose to be kind to others since I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of someone else’s unkind words/actions. Now, trust me, I know that letting go is always easier said than done, but with practice and patience (with yourself) letting go becomes easier over time and can really pave the way for turning negative experiences into positive self-growth. Time is precious; try not to let the past pain or future fear take away from what you do today! I wanted to close with the activity below that I found helpful for further reflection on control and what I can and cannot expect to have control over in my own life. I hope this helps you to get started :)
Circle of control visual Aid I recommend giving this activity a try, it helps to see visually what you have control over especially when you feel powerless and don't think you have control over anything.
Materials: Paper, writing and or coloring supplies How to do it:
Draw a circle.
Outside of the circle write down things you don't have control over or can't change.
Inside of the circle write down things that you do have control over or can change.
Take a minute to reflect and picture what life could look like if you shifted your energy towards things you can control.
This can be a work in progress! Leave yourself room to make additions or revisions as you continue to reflect deeper on control.
Example of one finished product:
PS. For more tips on how to let go, you can check out this website: https://forthegood.com/blog/f/how-to-learn-to-let-go-of-what-you-can%E2%80%99t-control
Thanks for reading!
Youth Peer Support Specialist