On a daily basis I am reminded that there are things that I can’t control. Well, for a control freak like me sometimes this is a challenge. If I could stop to think about, I would know that I need to knock it off. The problem is, that isn’t how my brain works. My brain works so fast all the time that I react before I can think through most of the time. As you can imagine, this gets me into trouble.
About a year ago now I came across this to-do list. I knew that I needed to learn to apply these to my daily life. Part of my life-long learning about how to be more compassionate, understanding and empathetic in situations. Of course I am still a work in progress, but I am learning.
I have learned to start counting my blessings. When one specific person or thing is bothering me, I think of all the things about it that make me feel good, things that I love and that are positives in my life. The truth is, almost always there are more positives than negatives. I have learned to take a minute, think about something, anything that reminds me of the good.
Practice Kindness, this is something that I try to do in my everyday life. Though, when the going gets tough, my kindness tends to get going. I think that I am calm, I try to be quiet and respectful but it takes about .3 seconds for that to fly out the window. It is probably the time when I am trying to approach hard topics with people that I need to be the most calm. That way they can hear my words, not just react to my actions. I am still learning how to perfect this skill.
Everyday of the week, I need to remember to let go of what I can’t control. The trouble comes in my disappointment from the way that I think people should do things. I can’t control the way people do things though, so I need to change my reaction to it. This goes for everyone, friends, the kids, coworkers and strangers at a party. Learning to let go of what you can’t control. If someone has the magic solution, PLEASE PLEASE tell me.
In the 8 months since I have started therapy and the one month since I have become friends with Jess, I think that I have been getting better and better. I will never be 100% cured of the control, but I am honestly trying.
I need to listen to my heart. What does it say, are things going to be alright? In your heart are you happy and is this just one thing that probably isn’t a big deal? When the kids drive me crazy, is my heart not still full from their love? When I don’t understand why things are the way they are, ask myself if it is truly effecting me. Not just bothering me, but actually effecting me as a person. Is it getting deep down into my heart?
When those crucial conversations need to be had, be productive yet calm. I need think about what I am going to say before I say it. Also, since I am a VERY loud person to begin with, I need to dial it back so many notches or instantly it seems like I am yelling. When I approach things calmly, it is nearly always productive. As you can imagine, when I am not calm it tends to snowball from there. You can end up going round and round in circles without figuring anything out. This is not ideal! I truly believe that being calm, isn’t something that can be learned. It is a way of life. When you feel content and at peace in your life, it is much more natural to be calm.
Just breathe. Sometimes when I get stressed out, Paul will look at me and say “what are you doing”? I say, breathing. I don’t remember to do this as often as I’d like, but when I do it is always a positive outcome. Really deep breathes, over and over. It is like craving a cigarette, they say after like 2 or 3 minutes that craving will go away.
Most of the time, if we just took deep breaths for a minute or so, whatever is bothering us won’t seem as significant. The first thing that I learned from my therapist, the number one trick when I am feeling out of control, step outside and take some breaths. It works nearly every time. Between the breathing and the “time-out” it can help tremendously.
I am 35 and I am still so far from having these skills down. I am working on it though, my Lifelong Learning To Do List.