Yes, I have a small secret to share today, but first a side note about last weeks Robin Williams post.
Life is funny.
After I hit publish last week, I got in the car and headed to Maryland for a family vacation. During my six hour, traffic filled drive, two things happened.
One thing: My post received lots of love. There were many comments, emails and shares. (If I didn’t respond or say thank you, please accept my thanks and apologies–it has been a family kind of week).
In the post I pointed out that everyone is fighting a battle, some that are obvious, many that are not. I then requested us all to see and treat each other for what we truly are–struggling, perfectly imperfect human beings. Many agreed that this shift could make a large difference in the world.
The other thing that happened: News broke that Robin Williams had been diagnosed with Parkinsons before his death. The story surrounding his suicide went deeper than depression and addiction. Now there was also a deteriorating disease in the mix. Opinions raged.
This is where the life is funny thing comes in.
My husband Brian has Parkinsons. We got his diagnosis four years ago. I haven’t talked about it here (and no, this is not the secret) because, following my husbands lead, I don’t allow it to take front and center in our lives. Nevertheless, it is part of everyday life for us and could be considered our “battle that others know nothing about”. (Especially his of course, but mine by extension).
The coincidence was too great not to bring up today. So there it is.
If you missed the post, or just want to re-read it, you can do so here.
Brian’s Parkinsons diagnosis is something that we had no control over. What we do control however is how we choose to handle it. And that, my friend, is a perfect segue into the little secret that I have for you today.
When you arrive on my website and check out my header, you will see a lovely picture of me, my name in an arch and then the phrase: Regain Control of Your Beautiful Life.
Now there are many reasons I picked the “regain control” tagline. First and foremost because it is aspirational. It gives the women I work with a vision of what they want for themselves. Control and a beautiful life. Who wouldn’t want that?
You do want control, don’t you? If you have control then your life will be in order, right? All of the things that you want for yourself will be easy and effortless. You will have success, accolades, peace, quiet and a zen like environment.
Many of us feel that when our lives ballooned with career, marriage, kids, and home we lost control somewhere along the way. We believe that if we could just get that control back, all would be well.
Is this how you feel? I know I sure did.
But here is my secret. When I say “regain control” I am not talking about what you think I am. I am not talking about controlling those things that make you crazy—husband, kids, friends, extended family, teachers, employees, pets, traffic and customer service representatives.
Nope. I’m not referring to any of that.
Once women start working with me they learn pretty quickly that I separate out two very different sides of control.
Knowing the difference between the things that you can and can’t control is the key to finding peace in your life.
Please feel free to quote me.
What do I mean?
First, some things we cannot control:
air traffic control
our children (sometimes when they are little, but not always)
what people say
what people do
No matter what you might think, you cannot control people and events outside yourself. You spend (or I did anyway) a huge amount of time trying to control them and then being very unhappy, frustrated and bitter when things don’t go the way you thought they should.
We have influence, we can offer opinions and advice, we can threaten and cajole–but at the end of the day we can’t make others do what we want them to.
Free will. We want it for ourselves, but in others, it can be a bitch.
So what can we control?
what we say yes to
what we say no to
our food choices
You may have heard this before. The only thing you truly have control over is yourself. What you think, what you do and how you choose to live and love is all 100% up to you.
So often, people have it backwards. They spend all of their time trying to control outside people and events while making excuses as to why they can’t change themselves.
And that is the turnaround that I work on with my clients. Focusing on the only thing that can truly change you–how you see your life, how you react to events and what you allow into your thoughts.
Can it really be that simple? Know what you can and can’t control?
Well, yes and no. It is simple to understand, but often difficult to implement.
You see, we all have very ingrained beliefs and habits. The way we were brought up and the influences all around that have shaped us (teachers, coaches, clergy, the media, our community etc) teach us many things that we have come to believe as fact, or even the law.
Most of the time people never step back to examine the beliefs and “laws” that they are allowing to run their lives.
Sometimes even when they do, letting go of these beliefs can be very difficult. Often people think that these beliefs “make me who I am”. Sometimes, even when people see that letting go is the only way to better their lives, they still refuse to do it.
Most of my clients have come to me because they have had enough. The pain, frustration and disappointment has reached a level where they are willing to let go of the beliefs that don’t serve them. They are willing to see themselves as part of the problem and thus the key to the solution.
One thing I know is this: you will always make yourself right. Whatever your position, you will find supporting evidence for your cause. Whether it is politics, sports, the environment, the PTA, social issues or your overall view on life—you will find the people and opinions that agree with yours.
A simplistic, benign example:
If you believe that you are too busy to exercise you are going to find all of the evidence to support that claim. You will look around you to find many people who are very busy and don’t exercise. You will feel better, convinced that you don’t have time.
However if you believe that you must exercise you will find all the evidence needed to support that claim as well. You will look around you to find many people who are very busy and also in shape. You will feel better because you know that there are others who make exercise a priority.
If and when you change your position, you will have all the proof you need, either way.
Making ourselves right applies to every aspect of our lives. So we get to choose—what are we going to make ourselves right about?
If you continue making yourself right about things that don’t serve you, you are going to be unhappy.
I help my clients take a step back to see what is causing them dissatisfaction. I help them reconsider their actions and reactions. I help them plan ahead for situations and brainstorm ways they can recognize and change their patterns.
Then when the moment occurs, in that pause, magic happens. They behave in a new way. Everything feels different. Suddenly, life is not just happening to them. They are (dare I say it?) in control.
Now, over to you. Is controlling others and being right affecting your life in negative ways? Or is this an area that you have worked on and made progress in? Please leave a comment and let me know how this is showing up in your life.
And if reading this has made you realize that there are some things that you would be willing to let go of to have the peace you so desire, please hit contact in the upper right hand corner of this page for your free consultation. I would be so happy to support you.