These days more of us are becoming aware of just how little control we have, control over our personal lives, our relationships, our workplace, world events.
Covid reminded us that we are all vulnerable, that disease and death can take any of us at any moment. Recent heatwaves have warned us of what is coming if we do not take climate change seriously. Wild fires are just that, wild, out of control. Massive price rises in things essential to our survival are terrifying. The feeling of being out of control can overwhelm us, keep us awake at night, and lead us to fear for our children and the world we are leaving them.
The staggering growth in figures for mental health issues and my own experience as a counsellor indicate that a sense of loss, of fear, of being out of control, has become widespread in our society.
What can we do about it? Do we give in to the fear? Or is there another way?
The famous Serenity Prayer comes to mind:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
There are so many things in this world that we have little control over: like pandemics, wars, the reality of a broken world. There are also so many things that we can control: like the way we react to events, the way we deal with pain, the ability to embrace each other despite our differences.
A few ideas I find helpful:
• Don’t try to control everything. We can get over-anxious when things are not going the way we planned; we become victims of our need to control.
• Figure out what you can control - your thoughts, for instance, don’t let them trap you in a spiral of negativity, ruminating over everything that’s wrong.
• Think of things that are going okay, even if not perfect.
• Imagine ways of making them better.
• Spend a few moments of quiet time each day just feeling grateful – there’s always something you can be thankful for.
• Choose to let go of the control and enjoy the unexpected.
• Think of what you can do for others – a visit or a telephone call to someone in need is good for them and a boost for you.
• One kind word or smile can make a stranger’s day.
• Our broken world needs kindness.
There’s the story of the man who’s having his hair cut. Half way through the process he got so annoyed with the cut the barber was giving him that he lost control, got up there and then, and stormed off. He might have been wiser to let the barber at least finish the job!
It takes wisdom, or common sense if you prefer, to know when to hold on and when to let go.
Feel free to get back to me with your comments. Thanks.
Thomas Hillas Life Coach and Counsellor 01994 452 645 firstname.lastname@example.org