Who controls your life? Depending on your stage of life, you might answer that your life is controlled by your parents, teachers, spouse, boss, children, government, your job, money (or the lack of it), or even your pets. You might say that you are controlled by all of these or some combination. I am going to suggest that a better reply would be that you are in control of your life. The people and things outside you can influence you but you make the ultimate decisions about your life. No matter what happens to you, you have choices. Those choices give you major control of your life.
You can choose to make today an interesting adventure or you can decide that it will be a dreary, boring and miserable day. You can choose to look for the good qualities in the people around you or you can look for any and all of their “bad” qualities. You can choose to enjoy the present moment or you can think about what went wrong in the unhappy past and what might go wrong in the frightening future. You can decide that you are going to take deliberate control of your life or you can choose to let other people and events to control your life.
A major purpose of this writing is to convince you to deliberately and consciously use terms that invoke “choice or choose” in both your thinking and speaking. Use terms that give you the choice instead of terms that seem to give control of your life to other people or things. Here are some examples of terms to use when you think to yourself or speak to others:
I choose to…… I decide to….. I select to….. I allow myself to…… I elect to….. I accept…..
Using terms like these will constantly remind you that you can be and should be in control of your life as much as possible.
If you think like you are in control, and you act like you are in control, you will be more likely to be in control. What you think about and expect is more likely to come about. When you say “I choose” and “I decide” you are also programming you mind to accept that you are in control. You always have been capable of control but perhaps you have not been expressing it in a deliberate or conscious way. Now you can exert more control over your live because you will be making deliberate choices.
When you think and talk in terms like “They made me do it.” you are giving “them” control over your life. “They have the power.” When you say “I decided to do it.” You are giving yourself the power.
You always have some choices and that puts you in control, even if the choices are all poor ones. Imagine that you are informed that you underpaid your income taxes over several years and you now must pay a large sum of money plus interest. Your alternatives are all undesirable ones. One alternative is not to pay the taxes and risk going to jail. You reject that one. You could sell your newer car and buy an older one or you could move to a cheaper, less desirable apartment. You are in an undesirable situation but you still have control to choose what is the least undesirable alternative.
If you are a person who feels that people, things and events are controlling you and your life, you are under more stress than you need to be. Just thinking you are not in control of something (“He won’t let me…” or “They give me no choice but to…..” ) can make you feel uneasy and anxious. Thinking, talking and acting like you are the major controller of your life (“I am responsible.” or “I decide to…”) can lessen the anxiety and stress. Try it.
If you are like most people, you will have to break the habits of thinking and talking as if the rest of the world has control over your life. You will have to convince yourself that you can deliberately choose to take more responsibility for your life. You have to censor yourself consciously to eliminate the kinds of phrasing that gives control to other people, things and events. Accept the fact that an unpleasant boss, a dreary day or unjust criticism can negatively influence you…….if you let them. However, they cannot influence you unless you let them. Your thinking must allow your boss to upset you. Your thinking must allow a dreary day to make you unhappy. You have to accept unjust criticism rather than choose to reject it as unfounded and untrue.
You always have some choices and hence, some control. You must think of yourself as always having choices. You must consciously look for and identify those choices. You must decide which one of those choices is the best for you. Then act on it. You even have the choice to let other people make your choices for you. However, be prepared to live with the consequences of giving control of any part of your life to someone else.
You and I cannot control all the things that will happen to us. We can try but bad things beyond our control will happen. Even then we have some control. We have control over how we will think about those events. We can and should take responsibility for our lives.