Control the things you can

I was reminded by my friend Cathy yesterday that we cannot control other people's actions, other people's feelings, other people's reactions. I have to learn that I can only control myself, my actions, my reactions. This is a lesson that is very very hard for me to learn and because of that, it seems that life keeps throwing circumstances in my direction to help me/ force me/ compel me to address this issue.

See, the thing is, I like to know what's going to happen. I like to know the end of the story, the end of the movie, whether a relationship will wind up in love or in friendship (or in shambles). I want to know if my energy is well-spent, if I'm being well-received, if I'm well-liked. I need to know that I'm doing the right thing, that I'm not making the wrong move, that I'm making decisions from my heart and my gut, that it will all be ok. The lesson for me is that none of these things are know-able until they come to pass. The lesson is that the more I try to control things to go in my direction, the less likely it is that that will happen.

Yes, the irony of this entire lesson is that the more you try to control things, the less you will be in control. If you try to mold people to feel a certain way, they will rebel and do the opposite. If you try to make circumstances fit your mold, fate will step in and throw a wrench in your plans to break that mold. The more you want people to like you or to love you or respect you, the more you try to bend people to do you will or do your bidding, the less likely that is to happen.

So what's a control-freak like me to do? Let go. Really. It's just that easy. Let go. Let circumstances happen as they will. Easier said than done but really there is no alternative. You will meet your friends and your loves and your enemies and eventually your demise at exactly the time those events are supposed to happen- not one second before or after. You can't change that. You can change how you live in the meantime. You can love your life as it is. You can decide to change yourself and your surroundings and your circumstances. You can live your life on your terms, but you can't live someone else's.

This is the life.
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