“Any time we try to control something, it controls us. That’s because we’re basing our happiness and peace of mind on being able to control it, on something external that can’t be controlled.” —Rod Pasko
My son, Rod, came up with that one a few years ago. I usually reserve ‘The Latest Wow’ for comments by my clients. But hey … Rod’s my client, just like I’m his at times. 🙂 I don’t recall the circumstances or why he said it, I just know I flew into another room for pen and paper. His words were just so insanely true!
Haven’t we all been there? We try to control how others act. The driver in the car ahead of us has the power to enrage us. We try to control how our partner does things. We try to control our children’s choices, and our friends’ opinions, our spouses tastes. We try to control time by attempting to squeeze too much in, or we try to stop it from marching on. Let’s face it, we have trouble seeing our children leave home, and we have trouble watching ourselves grow older.
So what does all this controlling-effort do to our peace? Havoc. Rod’s right. It robs us of our peace and happiness—call it wear and tear on the well-being. The weather plays a trick on us, and our peace is out the window. Cancelled plans carry the same weight. And we know how thrown we get when someone executes their own will versus our own.
Okay … we can’t always steer things to suit us, so what can we do? We can choose a different way of seeing things, which is an internal adjustment completely under our control. No matter what the irritant, as Wayne Dyer says: “You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.”
Instead of being held captive by my irritations, I can acknowledge the fact that my life will be good even though everything doesn’t always go my way. I can also choose to expand the lens through which I view an incident that’s getting under my skin by recognizing its relative insignificance when compared to the tapestry of my entire life … or the tapestry of all life.
A client of mine asks herself this question: Am I even going to remember this incident in six weeks? If not, then she decides it’s not worth another second of her mental or emotional energy.
When all else fails, follow the advice of my granddaughter, Emma: “Just think about pink ponies and butterflies.”