Do you feel stressed and anxious because your life seems out of your control? Believing that you are ever really in control of your life is a fantasy. There’s only ever one thing in life that you can control, and that’s you.
When life is peaceful, predictable, and going along nicely, it might seem like you’re in control. But it doesn’t take much for that perceived control to jump right out the window. The pandemic is one of those things that has thrown many people off-course.
Your Time is Precious
Your time is one of the most precious things you have. Without time, you have nothing else. So why would you waste any of it stressing out about things that you have no control over?
Knowing that upsetting yourself with things outside your control is unwise is one thing. Being able to manage your thoughts so that you aren’t upset is another.
The idea that your stress levels and emotions are the direct results of your thoughts is relatively new. It’s easy to blame situations and other people for your emotions. You may even think it’s justified. But by taking responsibility for your thoughts and the emotional results of those thoughts, you’ll have so much more control over your life.
Taking Responsibility for your Thoughts
Taking responsibility for your thoughts is the first step to increasing the control you have over yourself. The next step can be even more challenging because it requires consistent work. Work that ultimately only you can do.
Decide which thoughts serve you and will get you where you want to go. Hang onto those thoughts tightly. Put them up on post-it notes around your workspace or on your fridge. This is evidence that you can use to create more positive thoughts.
You may be surprised when you start observing your thoughts. They’re likely to be far more negative and critical than you expected. Sometimes you’ll want to give into them. But what will help you take control of your life is to challenge them.
Challenge them with thoughts that are believable. You probably won’t be able to believe that you’re amazing at something. And there will always be people that are better than you. But you can believe that you’re good enough.
What if I’m Not Good Enough?
This is the underlying thought that undoes so many people. Don’t let it undo you. It’s a thought that won’t serve you. Keep reminding yourself that you are good enough. Keep reading your post-it notes, with all your evidence displayed right where you’ll see it. But if the thought persists, at some point, you’ll need to confront it if you want to have as much control over your life as you can.
Of course, you’re good enough; everybody is. This thought is probably coming up for you in just one or two areas of your life. Take some time to evaluate the thought. Imagine an old-fashioned set of scales. Put this thought on one side and all the evidence you have to the contrary on the other side.
If your scales tilt towards the side of “I’m not good enough,” then re-evaluate what you’re trying to do. There’s no point pushing ahead with something that you have a strong underlying belief can’t work. Or maybe there are things you could do that would increase your confidence in yourself?
Pushing Forward with your Best Thoughts
The scales are a great visual reminder of what’s true for you. Maybe with more information, it will no longer be true. That doesn’t matter. That’s something for the future.
Right now, if your scales tilt towards the positive evidence that you are good enough, then align your thoughts and get going. You can re-evaluate later and maybe change course if necessary. But right now, use your evidence to create more thoughts that put you in control of whatever you’re trying to do.