Sometimes, it can feel as though everything that happens in life is out of your hands. The world moves around you, and yet you don’t get a say in how it’ll all turn out. We are given the gift of unexpected surprise that makes tomorrow so exciting. Yet sometimes, that level of uncertainty can be quite daunting. But there are circumstances where you do get to take control of your life, you just need to know how to recognize these moments when they arise.
Jumping into the driver’s seat of your own life can look different than how you’d imagine it to. It doesn’t mean you’ll always be happy, or that everything will always be peachy perfect. Even when in complete control, life can be tough and chaotic. Check out the list of bold tactics below and use it as a sort of map to get you behind the wheel to take charge of your own adventure.
Learn to say no
Boundaries are tough to set in place. To do it, you need to know what your limits are and then act accordingly. Sometimes that means skipping out on lame family functions or disagreeing with a friend.
Either way, saying no will usually be part of the deal.
For a while, it seems like people were all about being “Yes Men/Women”. As though saying yes to everything was the secret to finding love, scoring the job of your dreams and kicking ass at life.
But saying yes is easy. Maybe that’s why it became so trendy.
The tough thing is learning to say no.
“No, I can’t help you move.”
“Sorry, I’m not available to pick up your brother from the airport.”
“No, you can’t live on my couch.”
It’s not about being a jerk, but instead, doing the things that truly work for you.
When the urge strikes to say yes just to make the other person happy, that’s when you know it should be a no.
Sure, sometimes you’ll hurt people’s feelings, annoy fellow cubicle mates or get an irritated eye roll thrown your way, but at least you’re not compromising your standards.
If you are serious about wanting to take control of your life, you’re gonna have to learn the artful skill of saying no like a champ.
Stop worrying what they think
You are just as great and horrible as all of us. Each one of us is as perfectly imperfect as the next guy or gal. It’s part of the deal of being human.
So when you go out into the world, ideally, you’re facing it straight on with no mask on. Just your real bad ass self confronting the world.
As you do this, some people with like you, and some people won’t. That’s just how it goes. Our personalities can’t mesh well with
The more we can accept that, the easier it becomes to stop caring so much about what everyone thinks.
Who cares if that jackass in accounting doesn’t like you? You don’t even like him anyway.
Often times we get hung up on other people’s views of us because we haven’t yet created strong and powerful enough views of ourselves.
So, if that’s whats going on, it’s time you get at it. Take some time to connect within and learn to love the amazingly imperfect person you are.
Confront your inner critic
We all have it; that little voice inside our head that tells us how dumb we are or to shut up and stop making a foul of yourself.
Those damn inner critics can really be a bitch.
Which is why you gotta take some time to hear what they say and learn to quiet them down.
Not really sure how to do that? This article is a good place to start.
Turn off the auto-pilot
Turn off the TV, disconnect from your cell, get off social media, stop drinking, smoking, distracting yourself for just for one sec.
Instead, live in the moment. Be present and live consciously.
Accept what is
One of the biggest causes of suffering is denying reality.
We get annoyed with ourselves about how we are, mad at our partners about how they are, and just general pissed off about stuff we can’t change.
It’s frustrating and completely unbeneficial.
I know, accepting that we aren’t as tall or funny as we wish we were, is tough. And accepting others’ quirky ways can be even tougher.
But, people are how they are, wacky ways and all. If you aren’t happy with that, you have the choice to remove them from your life.
As Reinhold Niebuhr says:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Other people’s behavior is not the only thing we don’t control. We don’t control most aspects of the weather, illness, death, politics and most day-to-day circumstances.
I’m not suggesting that we become complacent and just passively accept everything just how it is. But as the quote says, recognize where you have control and focus on that. Stop wasting your energy getting mad or annoyed about stuff you don’t control, like traffic jams.
As mentioned above, no one is perfect, not you, not your best friend, nor your boyfriend or the grouchy waiter from the bar.
But we’re all doing the best we can.
Take control of your life by not holding onto grudges. Not only does it bring you down, but negatively impacts the strength of your relationship with others.
People will screw up. That’s part of the deal of life. Don’t be too hard on them when it happens. Because:
- They aren’t you, so they don’t know what’s going on within you or know the things that might hurt you.
- They are as imperfect as you are. Sure their imperfections are different from yours, but who are you decide whose imperfections are worse?
I’d rather be surrounded by people who try, screw up, fix their messes and try again, instead of people who just play it safe and never screw up. By forgiving easily and allowing those who surround you to make mistakes, you give them wings to try to fly. If they fall, these risk takers are strong enough to confront their errors and change their tactic.
Embrace the unpleasantness
Sometimes life sucks. Tough emotions, hard situations and soul crushing realities are a normal part of life.
The more that we can acknowledge that and be ok with that, the better off we are.
And honestly, even if you had the choice, would you really choose a life where everything went perfectly all the time?
No way! That’d be so boring. What would be the point of living?
Knowing that doesn’t erase the unpleasantness of bad situations. But it does prevent us from making these shitty times even harder by punishing ourselves when they arise.
How often does sometime bad happen and you respond with:
- I’m so annoyed with myself for having tried.
- How could I have been so stupid?
- I hate that I’m sad/mad/anxious about this!
The equation goes something like this:
Keep the beating yourself part to a minimum. As discussed in the section about accepting what is, denying that hard things will happen is just crazy. Manage tough times easier by knowing and accepting that they’ll arise. Then, when they do, focus on the issue instead of punishing yourself because the issue arose.
You are the boss of your own life. Anyone who makes you feel otherwise, doesn’t realize the strength and power that lies within each of us.
And if you are the one convincing yourself otherwise, get your facts straight.
You call the shots. Sure, thoughts, feelings and circumstances will happen out of your control, but you still get to decide how you react to the these things, and that’s where the power lies.
Take control of your life by taking control of yourself. Choose how you react to the world. Choose your words, actions and path consciously and carefully. The decisions you made each day create your reality.
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