How “Control” Causes Us Stress.

So much of what causes us stress comes from our default reactions to the things that happen to us.  Unconscious choices and decisions, built upon past good and bad experiences, drive our daily lives.

Many of us feel that the best way to navigate our way through life’s difficulties and challenges is to take control and figure out how people should behave and things should unfold.

But no human being has control over what happens “out there”.  None of us can make the world or anyone in it behave as we want them to, no matter how hard we try.  If you want to measure an individual’s level of stress, measure her insistence that life go as she plans.  Constant Insistence = Constant Stress

“He should have called when he said he would!  My mother should agree with me!  My boss should recognize my hard work?!  The president shouldn’t be doing that!  My sister is acting foolish!  The healthcare system is out of control!  Why doesn’t everyone care about the environment?  When are politicians going to see it MY way?!!”  On and on it goes.

When does anything outside of us ever behave exactly as we think it should?  In my experience, which covers several decades now, very rarely, and even then lawful bribes are often involved!

I’ve tried to control the volatility of the world around me so we could all benefit from my idea of what was appropriate and necessary, and IT DIDN’T WORK!  It has never worked!

You know what does work?  Choosing what life wants.  Choosing not to argue with reality.  Choosing not to resist and resent the things that have already happened or are set in motion.  You can’t change what already IS by getting angry, stressed and frustrated.  Reality doesn’t give a rip what you think about it!

Unhappy feelings come from our belief that life has failed us by not conforming to our ideas about what it should be doing to make us happy. . . But it hasn’t failed us.  People haven’t failed us.  We’re not being denied anything by the world.  It’s our beliefs about life and people that have failed us.  Our ideas that tell us that we have to HAVE something, BE something or ACCOMPLISH something in order to be happy . . . That people have to approve of us, agree with us, behave according to our likes.

Ask yourself, how does that work when everyone’s different and everything’s constantly changing?  Ladies and gentleman, I give you misery.

We can’t spend our lives anxiously controlling and fearfully preparing for what may come.  It causes us nothing but stress.  It’s so much kinder to allow whatever comes our way to help us understand ourselves and others better; to do our best and grow to be better people; to allow the Universe the opportunity to sort out all the details and offer the benefits and possibilities that only IT could lovingly envision for us. . . without our chaotic dictating.

I know it’s hard not to want to get in there, roll up your sleeves and get to the business of fixing everyone and righting all the perceived wrongs, but it’s a non-stop, high-stress job that pays off in disappointment.  I know because I’ve been a professional sleeve-roller!

We control only our inner lives and when we deliberately use that control to create change in ourselves and focus on what we want, not what we don’t want, on what WE need to do, not what someone else needs to do, our outer lives transform.  As Wayne Dyer said “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

What happens when you insist life behave your way?  You feel:

Nervous

Anxious

Angry

Disappointed

Fearful

Stressed

What happens when you allow life to unfold naturally?

You’re calm.

You’re not disappointed in outcomes.

You’re always in the right place at the right time.

You’re awake and sensitive to what’s happening around you.

You’re confident you can handle what comes your way.

You’re mentally quiet.

You’re grateful.

What sounds better?  We have control over ourselves and what we create.  That’s enough to keep us busy for a lifetime.

Welcome life and it will welcome you.

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