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Stop Struggling with What You Can’t Control & Find Happiness: Part Two

by | Aug 7, 2023 | Life in General, Self Love

The Power of Surrender: Part Two

Accepting What We Can’t Control Is the Crux of Happiness

If you missed part one of this powerful overview of surrender, I implore you to check it out. It goes over the things we can shift our focus on so that we can slip into natural alignment. Here, I go over the things we are not in control of and how we can avoid despairing over these factors.

Let Go of the Outcome

When it comes to controlling situations, there is often a fine line between taking charge and becoming overly attached to the outcome. The truth is the more we try to manipulate or micromanage a situation, the more we risk allowing it to consume us. 

Surrendering to the unknown and letting go of the need for specific outcomes, despite what we would like to happen, frees us from the pressure of expectations and external factors. In doing so, we give ourselves space to either receive what we hoped for or to realize that perhaps it was never what we truly wanted. 

Ultimately, the act of releasing control can lead to a win-win situation. Either the desired outcome is achieved, or we are freed from the constraints of a narrow focus and can explore new possibilities.

What We Cannot Control:

What Other People Think of Us

Here’s the truth: You can’t make everyone like you, no matter how hard you try. And no matter what choices you make in life, someone will ALWAYS be judging you. 

But guess what? That’s okay! You don’t have to like everyone, either. 

Instead of worrying about pleasing others and being someone you’re not for others, put your focus on loving and accepting yourself. Be strong, be proud, be you. 

People’s opinions of you are out of your control. Own who you are, put on your confidence like a trusty pair of big girl panties, and focus on loving yourself. 

When you love yourself, the opinions of others become irrelevant. It’s time to let go of the need for validation from others and start giving it to yourself.

Of course, I like it when people think well of me. But I let go of worrying about what they might think. It’s a waste of my time and energy, plus it causes me undue stress. I know I do my best, and that is all I can do. I accept this and am okay with it.

I live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” This helps me remain true to myself, and I am confident most people will think highly of me. If they don’t, I refuse to let it bother me since I cannot control them anyway. 

 “Other’s opinions of me are none of my business.”

Forces of Nature

Ever get angry about time-wasting traffic? What about a rainy day that ruins your plans? Sadly, there are many external factors at play in the world. Natural disasters, car breakdowns, child meltdowns, stock market crashes, etc. It’s enough to drive someone insane…if they allow it to.

We want to always keep this perspective: I cannot control EVERYTHING.

This phrase allows us to take stock of which things are in our realm of control and which things aren’t. When we figure out that the traffic or rain is not within our power, we can relax into a cocoon of “acceptance.” 

Accepting what’s happening in real time allows us to bypass any anxiety that might creep in. Instead, we enter a zone of calm, remaining vigilant on the forces we can control — that is, the internal forces.

Relationships with Other Humans

This is a big one for a lot of us. How others feel, how others act, and how others make us feel plays a crucial role in our well-being. (When it really shouldn’t.)

Take my ex, for example. He raises our children in ways that I might not approve of. My ex can be with other people romantically, he can be living his lifestyle in unsavory ways, or he can make choices that are downright dangerous. 

The funny thing is, none of this has anything to do with me.

We can even be cheated on. And there’s no doubt that cheating can be devastating, but it’s important to understand that we can’t control our partner’s behaviors. 

While it’s natural to want to create boundaries and guidelines in our relationships, and some people go as far as to use tracker apps and monitor phone and spending habits to prevent cheating, these tactics are often a recipe for driving us crazy. We become disconnected in the relationship with these illusions of control.

Ultimately, the truth is we can only express our expectations and boundaries clearly, then let go of the outcome. Attempting to control a partner’s behavior is not only futile but often leads to negative outcomes.

This is also true of the beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, or values of others. They have their minds made up, and arguing with them over these things is not only pointless but drastically draining. Be sure to continue expressing your true self, but let go of what others do because that might be them expressing their true selves. 

Allowing space for both yourself and your relationships can give you a healthy foundation upon which to build dynamic connections.

Our Past

It’s natural to experience regret about past events and feel guilty for the things that have gone wrong. But it’s also important to move past them. 

Elon Musk, despite his incredible achievements, hasn’t yet found a way to travel back in time. So living with regrets and constantly blaming ourselves or others is only going to lead to misery. 

To break from this pattern, forgiveness is key. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we need to forget about what happened or condone it, though it can help us find closure and move forward.

Moreover, reflecting on our past experiences can help us decipher our values and set healthy boundaries. By understanding the lessons from our past, we can better control ourselves in the future and lead fulfilling lives.

Our Partner’s Past

It’s perfectly understandable to feel uneasy about your partner’s past, but it’s important to remember that this is just that — their past. 

We all make mistakes and have past relationships, but punishing your partner for events that took place before you knew each other is a one-way ticket to frustration. Choosing to let go of the past and embracing your partner’s journey, including their past experiences and choices, can actually bring you closer. 

Remember: Those choices led them to where they are now, with you. Try to be grateful for that, and build a positive future together.

Radical Acceptance

Affirmations are useful tools that help guide our lives to where we want to go. Regardless of what life throws at me, I can replace any negative thoughts that creep in with positive ones.

I can release my feelings of trying to control everything. I can go with the flow. You can too!

I acknowledge that the only person I have complete control over is me. I cannot control the thoughts, opinions, or actions of others. However, I can control my reactions to whatever life throws my way. You can too!

I let go of my desire to control situations, and I refuse to allow frustration to cloud my mind. Instead, I choose to focus on what I can do in any given situation. (Guess what? You can do this too!)

Even though we cannot control everything, we are not powerless. We have tools at our disposal to help us achieve our goals, regardless of life’s distractions. Even in hectic times, we can use breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and meditation to restore peace and harmony to our souls.

Consider the Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr (read the full version here)

 “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.”

By knowing the difference between focusing on what’s in your control and surrendering what isn’t, we can all feel more at peace in our minds, our bodies, and our souls. Take what you’ve learned here and begin to live a more peaceful, joyful existence.

Take care of yourself, beautiful human!

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Do I worry about what others think of me?
  2. When I try to control the outcome of a situation, what actually happens?
  3. Do I make judgments on what I think others should and should not be doing in their lives?
  4. What tools do I have to help me shape my perspective and surroundings?

 

You should also read Stop Struggling with What You Can’t Control & Find Happiness: Part One 

 

Hello!

I am Jen,

As a dedicated life coach specializing in co-parenting, divorce, and single motherhood, I bring a unique blend of professional expertise and personal experience to my coaching practice. I am deeply committed to helping women not only survive divorce but also thrive as they transition into their roles as single mothers. I provide tailored coaching to assist my clients in developing effective co-parenting strategies, fostering healthy communication, and creating nurturing environments for their children.

I am also the author of the best-selling book “I am Amazing: From Invisible to Invincible”. My self-help memoir offers hope and inspiration for anyone who has felt overwhelmed by life and their struggles with mental health. With raw honesty and vulnerability, I provide an intimate look at my journey from victim to victorious.

 

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