Control What You Can

“Folks are usually as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

-Abraham Lincoln

I spent a lot of rough times in my 20s. Looking back, it was mostly because I tried to controlling the situations instead of myself. The truth is in any given circumstance, we can control only 2 things – our reactions and our attitude. We can’t control what other people do or say, or even how things will happen. There’s always unexpected plot turns on everyone’s path that we just can’t control. Even then, we can still choose our reaction to it and our attitude in the present.

Attitude & (re)actions are learned

Since they are learned, they can also be unlearned or shifted. It’s catching ourselves in that unconscious moment and bringing it to the light. It’s learning what is behind the reaction or the attitude to find a way to shift it to how you really want to show up. Basically, we have to learn what we learned, so we can unlearn it.

They may take practice to change

Just because you realize an attitude or reaction isn’t serving you doesn’t mean you’ll be able to change it automatically. First you have to catch yourself, then you have to make the choice over and over. It takes practice so don’t shame yourself. Celebrate that you at least notice it after the fact. You’ll get quicker and soon you’ll be able to catch things before they go bad. Woo-hoo!

Focus on what you want

Stop focusing on the bad behavior and focus on how you want to feel. What type of attitude do you want to feel? At home? At work? If you want to feel graceful, don’t focus on the time you tripped in front of co-workers, think about how you’ll walk in tomorrow gracefully. Think of how it feels to be graceful. Focus on that. What we focus on grows, so grow what you want, not more of what you don’t want.

Choice means freedom

Choice means you get to decide how to live your life. If you have the choice, you don’t have to depend on what others do or how things work out. We have complete choice over our happiness and actions all the time. We don’t have to wait for it to be provided. It also means that you are not responsible for anyone else’s reactions or attitude. They don’t rule your life, you do.

Choose how you’re going to see and react to the world. It’s your only choice and it’s really quite refreshing when you step into it. You’ll feel lighter and times will suddenly become a lot calmer.

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