I'm grateful to my former counselor Tom who showed me that I was trying to control outside myself feelings I could not control inside (I think it happened when my daughter moved out of the house during her senior year to her Dad's house--and wouldn't talk to me for 5 months). Major revelation. It only took me several more years to realize that the uncomfortable feeling inside me was anxiety.
Anxiety is what happens when our nervous system seeks to fight, flight or freeze. The more uncomfortable we are with the anxiety the more we freak out and the more controlling we become. I could hardly construct a sentence I was so distracted by the disappearance of my daughter.
Years ago Stephen Covey introduced us to the circle of control (things over which I rule--what I say and how I act) and circle of influence (though I don't control things in this circle, I might be able to influence their outcomes--convincing my significant other to increase the distance between us and the car ahead, or getting someone from tech support to refund my money on the phone); and somewhere along the line I've picked up a third, the circle of concern (things that concern me, but are outside my control and and influence--the economy, lay-off decisions, my mom's aging experience, who my daughters date).
My circle of control is where I can make the most change--I can diet, carve out time for regular exercise, study, and pursue my dream if I make the time to make it happen. But I cannot make change in anyone else's circle of control. No matter how much time I spend. Are you spending as much time in your own circle of control as you are in others?
Questions to ponder:
What is in your circle of control?
Are you taking control of the things that will get you what you really want?Are you letting go of the things you cannot control, refusing to spend too much time there, and letting others take control of their own lives?
- What is outside your circle of control that usurps your time and energy?
- What can you do about it?
- Are you a control freak? Use the questions on the link to raise your awareness of your behavior.
- Do you have a strategy for dealing with the anxiety that triggers your need to control?
Making changes requires me to identify and sit with my anxiety--fear of the unknown, insecurity about my skills and abilities. I have to be "full" if I am able to take on extra anxiety. I have regular body work done. I exercise enough but not too much. I eat a healthy diet. When I am at my best I am more optimistic and I have set enough time aside to play with my change work.
What are the things you CAN control that will fill you up and help move you to where you want to go? Start there. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish once you've "put on your own mask first," and filled yourself up by taking action in your circle of control.