There is little that makes you feel less powerful than when other people’s poor decisions affect you. You can feel like you’re fighting the same battle over and over again. But really, all you’re doing is spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. You can be tempted to become a total control freak to protect yourself from those moments where you feel absolutely powerless.
Allow me to walk you through an exercise that allows you better understand the things you should try to control. Take a piece of paper. Draw a big circle in the middle. Inside this circle, I want you to write everything you can control. Outside the circle, write everything you can’t control. This is your circle of control. Stop and do this before you go on. Really. Stop reading. Okay? Done?
If you did this correctly, everything inside the circle will be your actions, thoughts, and beliefs. Everything outside the circle will be others’ actions, thoughts, and beliefs. The point of this exercise is to realize that you can’t control anyone but yourself. It’s a cold hard pill to swallow sometimes, but you cannot control your friends, family, spouse, children, coworkers, boss, or anyone else. All you can control is you.
So the question remains, if something is outside your circle of control, what do you do about it? This, my friends, is the hard part. Those things that are outside of your circle of control you give to God. You go to Him in prayer, tell Him about this spouse/boss/unruly child, and ask for help. Then, whenever this person is doing something that gets your ire up, you can take a few steps.
1 – Take a few deep breaths.
2 – Remind yourself you can’t control them.
3 – Say a prayer in your heart.
4 – Walk away.
5 – (This is the most important) Begin controlling what you can control. This is where your power lies. Ask yourself what steps you can take so this person’s behaviors no longer affect you so profoundly. Is letting go enough? Do you need to ask them to be more respectful? Do you need to find a new job? Do you need to limit your interactions?
Step five is where I can help. Stop spinning your wheels, trying to fight the wrong battles. We can set some goals to help you be more in control of your life. Reach out to me here. I’d love to help.