What to Do When Facing Things We Cannot Control

acceptance control emotions Jul 06, 2023

In a world of 8 billion people, it's inevitable that there are countless things affecting our daily lives that are completely out of our control. As much as we'd like to be the directors of everything that happens around us, it's simply not possible. Inconveniences, both big and small, occur every day, and even though they may not be our fault, they can still be frustrating and overwhelming. When faced with situations beyond our control, we often find ourselves experiencing negative emotions like fear, doubt, and worry. So, what can we do when we find ourselves in this position? While each situation and individual is unique, the following tips can help us effectively deal with things we can't control.

1. Embrace Your Emotions

The first step when something out of your control affects you is to acknowledge and accept the influence it has on your emotions. When faced with devastating events, our natural response is to try and fix or resolve the situation immediately. However, going through the grief process, particularly in catastrophic circumstances, is a tried-and-true method for moving forward with clarity and direction. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are common emotional responses, and they may occur in any order. Remember that while grieving can be painful, it helps us progress through our journey.


2. Make Time for Yourself

While you may not be able to change the situation, you can still make a positive impact on your own well-being. Everyone has their happy place, whether it's shopping, playing golf, going to the beach, or having a phone call with a friend. Carving out time for yourself to clear your mind can have significant benefits, enabling you to think and act more coherently moving forward. Engage in self-reflection by asking yourself questions like "How do I feel when I'm happy?" or "What does confidence feel like?" These visualisations can help reignite your assertive self. Coping with stress requires patience yet finding that patience can be challenging while in a state of stress. Write down your feelings, listen to music, or find a way to express yourself that keeps you connected with your true self and maintains your balance amid negative emotions.


3. Find What is Controllable

While certain aspects of the situation may be beyond your control, taking a step back and engaging in self-reflection during the grief process might reveal one or two elements that you can influence. Perhaps there is someone who can assist you, or changing your attitude and actions could lead to better outcomes for yourself and others. By focusing on what you can control, you can regain a sense of agency and direct your energy toward making positive changes within your sphere of influence. Some of the most inspiring leaders in the world possess the ability to transform apparent roadblocks or setbacks into opportunities for growth and positivity.

For example, Oprah Winfrey, an inspiring leader, has consistently transformed setbacks into opportunities for growth. Despite initial challenges with her talk show, she innovated and connected on a deeper level, propelling it to immense success. Facing personal hardships, Oprah embraced them, sharing her struggles to inspire others. Through her media empire and philanthropy, she has empowered millions, proving the power of resilience, and using setbacks as stepping stones for personal and professional growth.

Embracing the belief that everything happens for a reason can provide solace, even in the face of adversity, and help you navigate through circumstances with renewed hope and resilience.


4. Acceptance Brings Freedom

Don't suppress the full range of emotions that arise when facing things beyond your control. Instead, allow yourself to feel them. Take deep breaths and do something kind for yourself every day and observe how your life can completely change. Suppressing emotions only prolongs the internal struggle and hinders your ability to move forward. Acceptance grants you the freedom to be vulnerable, process your emotions fully, and ultimately find a sense of liberation from the burdens of resistance.

Remember that with time, healing and growth are possible. We just have to look after ourselves on the way.


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