There are many situations in life that are out of our control. It’s so easy when caught in a bad situation like that to spend a lot of time and energy lamenting our helplessness. How many times have you made statements like:
“If only my kids listened better….”
“If only my husband helped out more…”
“If only my wife wasn’t so emotional…”
“If only my boss would retire…”
The problem is that we cannot control other people – the only person you control is yourself. The best we can ever do is to hope to influence others, but ultimately, what they choose to do is up to them. When we put all our focus on other people, we are spending our energy uselessly, because we are forgetting the power we have to choose our own behaviour in these situations.
Next time you find yourself complaining, ask yourself: “What kind of person do I want to be in this difficult situation?” Do you want to be a confident person or a weak person? Do you want to be a caring person or a mean person? Do you want to be a competent person or a reactive person? What would a confident, caring, competent person do when their kids didn’t listen? Or when they were frustrated with their spouse? Or when they faced difficulty at work?
When we shift our thinking from complaining to self-reflection, it’s amazing how many choices and different outcomes are truly available to us when we attend to what is actually under our control!