I must admit, I am (or was) a bit of a control freak – not controlling others, but trying to control the outcome of things in my daily life. Things I had no control over, but would spend hours thinking about them.
An amazing example would by flying – I have a horrific fear of flying. I am not sure why, but I am quite open to the idea that it is because it is not me flying the plane (thank god) – but if only I could sit in the cockpit to make sure the pilots were watching the ‘road’, not dozing off, monitoring the auto-pilot. If only. Maybe then I would be less fearful. I even took to chatting to the pilots before the flight – checking them out – were they ‘normal’, did they seem rested. I finally realize – not in my control – I am not a pilot. It is their job, and I have to trust they will do the best they can.
This brings me to my role as a healthcare provider – the times patients were scared when I was going to do a procedure with them – I would always reassure them I had done it many times, it was safe, and that I would be there to calm them the entire way. They had no reason to worry unless I look worried (that is why I am constantly monitoring the airline stewards!). They could not control the outcome, but I could do some work for them to be mindful of the fact that I was a trained provider working with them. They did not need to control my work or expertise, I did.
This also translates into controlling how others feel about me. NOT in my control – no matter what. I am not someone else, and they are not me!
So, the moral? Control what you can control – your feelings, not someone else’s, your own diet, sleep, movement and health – not that of others. Your own time – not the time of others. How you feel about yourself, not how others feel about you. How am I doing this? Through mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). I will be teaching courses in MBSR soon – sign up for one – it will really change your perspective on what you can and cannot control – a very freeing feeling.
My next post will be about mindfulness – a big buzz word these days, but something that has been practiced for centuries – What is mindfulness? What is it not? Watch the post in the upcoming days.
Today, write down three things you can control in your life, and three things you cannot – you might be surprised with what you come up with!