This morning I am thinking about my growing list of acquaintances who are out of work. So many of them are wondering what happened. People in my generation were told, “work hard and you will be rewarded.” Now as the economy goes down the tank, many feel like they were sold a bunch of snake oil. They are usually the first to be let go due to their higher salaries, and the last to be rehired. Their retirement plans are in shambles due to the retraction of the stock market and the devaluation of their homes.
This is a difficult situation for anyone to be in, and to make matters worse, much of it is beyond our control. So – how do we regain control, when we don’t have complete control?
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that control is an illusion. You can’t control everything. The good news? By giving up control of the things you can’t control, and focusing on things you can… you regain control.
A long time ago, my mom gave me a prayer which I’m sure many of you have seen before:
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.
To regain control you have to release the notion that you can control all things in your life. It is a very freeing experience. I have a friend who lost a loved one to cancer. This person was told by some friends (friends?!) that she was being punished because of a previous divorce. That the divorce negatively impacted her current relationship and that this caused the cancer to arise. Yeah.. right. It made her feel better, knowing that sometimes, things just happen that are beyond our control.
Some of you carry a burden because you feel as if you should be able to control all aspects of your life, and when something negative happens, despite it being beyond your control, you feel guilty because you let it happen. What burden are you carrying?
I am not suggesting that all things are out of our control or that we shouldn’t accept responsibility when there really was something we did that resulted in a negative outcome. I’m just trying to help you see the difference. When you can distinguish between things you can control, and the things you can’t, you will be able to focus more clearly on things that you can control, resulting in a more positive outcome for your life.