Have you ever felt out of control? I mean really! Things in life seem to be coming from every direction and there’s nothing you can do to stop any of them. Ever been there? I sure have. While I don’t particularly like that journey, I have learned to regain control. Taking control of life when it seems out of control is not always easy, but it is possible.
Feeling Out of Control
There’s an important part of that phrase. “Feeling” out of control and “Being” out of control are often two different things. The way we feel is the way we feel. However, sometimes the way we feel can distort our view of reality. This is not to say our feelings are unimportant. Our emotions certainly impact every part of our lives. At the same time, our feelings can sometimes blind us to reality.
Taking control of life when things seem out of control requires that I first determine what is really causing the problems. Statements like “everything is messed up” or “everything is wrong” are simply not true. Everything can’t be messed up (or we’re all gone) and everything can’t be wrong. This kind of absolute thinking keeps us feeling out of control.
Take Responsibility for the Problem(s)
First, let me say bad things happen to good people all the time. Bad things happen even when we’re trying to do the right thing. However, there are likely some parts of my out-of-control experience that I really am responsible for. Maybe it was a bad decision or a series of them. Maybe it was believing a lie. Maybe it was spending too much money, poor planning, being lazy, trusting an untrustworthy person, or any host of possibilities. This is not to say what I did was a bad thing. It may have been a good thing that turned out bad.
It is important for us to take responsibility for problems. Taking control of life requires that I understand that, for the most part, I really am responsible for the things that go on in my life. When I fail to do this, I end up blaming other people, circumstances, God, the universe, or the trolls under the bridge (anyone but myself). Again, this is not to say that people don’t cause harm to us – they certainly can. However, I am in a position to impact my life more than any other person.
Define the Necessities
When things feel out of control, ask yourself what you really need at this point in time. This is an important step in taking control of my life when it feels out of control. What is actually needed? Food, clothing, shelter, utilities, and a safe family. Beyond that, everything else really is a desire. For most people, we have the real necessities even when things feel out of control. In those times, our thoughts about this thing or that thing that is not going so well distracts us from what we actually need. Do you have the necessities of life for yourself and your family? Start there. If you have those covered, you have done well already.
Worrying keeps us feeling out of control. Worrying is a way to attempt to control the future. Getting rid of worry will almost immediately improve our sense of control. Bruce Van Horn’s book Worry No More is a great resource for reducing worry. Taking control means that I only concern myself with things that are within my reach. This one thought process reduces my worry. If I can’t impact it, I don’t even have to think about it.
Regardless of where you are or where you were, as the case may be, you can learn something. You may learn something about the situation. You may learn something about yourself. You may learn something about worrying. You may even learn a new skill, get a new job, find new relationships, or anything else. You may learn the very thing that makes taking control a little easier the next time. Find some learning in your experience.
If you’re feeling out of control, recognize that what you’re feeling may be blinding you to reality. Take responsibility for your part in the situation(s). Define what your necessities are. Reduce your worry and go ahead and learn something. Taking control of life when it feels out of control isn’t easy, but it is possible.
What has helped you regain a sense of control when things felt out of control? Leave your comments below – we would love to hear from you!