The Myth of Control

I woke up this morning to an empty house - my husband and kids are visiting grandma and grandpa back east, which means I get a much needed break!  I got out of bed, turned on the shower and started planning out my morning..."let's see, I'll wear my blue dress today, I should be done with my shower by 8:30 so I can make myself some eggs and toast and be out of the house by 9AM"  Of course, nothing ended up the way I planned - I ran out of soap in the shower, so I had to jump out and get more, dripping water all over the bathroom.  Then I went to put on my blue dress just to see that there was a stain on it, then when I finally made it downstairs (it's 8:45 by now) I found out that the bread was moldy, so my plans to have a robust breakfast went down the drain.  To top it all off, I ended up leaving the house later than I wanted, and still hungry.

Obviously this is a perfect example of Murphy's Law - anything that can happen will happen. But it also proves a bigger point - that no matter how much we think we are in control, or even want to be in control, something is bound to happen.  Control, at the end of the day, is a myth. We are led to believe that we are in control - of our cars, our health, or relationships, or our kids - but we are not.  The only constant thing in life is change.  Our job is to embrace that, and ride the wave.  

I have family members who constantly try to stay in control, and often even try to control others.  At first, I was resistant, knowing that there is no way in hell anyone should or could control me.  But then I began understanding and honestly having empathy towards those who think they need to be in control - their lack of understanding that they are in fact not in control of anything completely misses them, and instead they are consumed by the desire to be in total control, only to be disappointed over and over again.  The fastest way to achieve happiness is, in fact, to resign to the fact that we are not in control.

Now, there is one thing we ARE in control of - ourselves.  We do have the choice to control our mindset, our habits and our actions.  We can control how we react when a situation arises - do we whine and yell?  Do we blame?  Or do we figure out how to move on?  As a parent and a professional, I am often met with situations in which what I wanted to happen is SO the opposite of what is happening in front of me, and so I've worked on looking forward to forge a path away from the situation, instead of dwelling on the situation and fixating on why things didn't work out the way I wanted them to.

So I challenge you to think about changing your mindset - next time your kids act up in the store, or a coworker pisses you off, think about how to move past the situation instead of dwelling that it happened, because after all, you were not in control of it.  Remember that the only constant in life is change, and no matter how shitty the situation may be now, it is not permanent, so there's no need to control anything but your reactions and your expectations.