Distress – Influence or Control?

Do you ever find yourself in your home life or at work, frustrated and challenged and stuck and all those other negative words? Sometimes we have a habit of moaning and trying the same thing over and over again, when we do not have influence or control over the system within which you work. Always ask yourself, do I have influence or control over this issue that I am distressed over? If the answer is I have no control, then look at any possible influence that you may have. If after reflection, you decide to use your influence, such as writing a letter or email or speaking to someone else who might have influence, do this. After that, let it go. If you do not have any influence at all, then you must come to terms with this and let it go as well. Remember if you continue to focus on that which you cannot control or influence it will become magnified in your life and you will not find happiness down that road. This is a mindset and not so easy to do when we have passion for some issue. Fortunately, there is a part that we always have influence and control over, and that is ourselves. We must understand that we are only a part of the tapestry of life and cannot always control or even influence others or policies or organizations. But we can control our thoughts and therefore our feelings and actions. Consider Victor Frankl’s war experience (in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”)and what happened to those who were able to manage and those who were not. It was really about resilience and a mindset that set those apart who survived and who those who did not even though they shared the same experience. After all of his horrifying experiences where his everyday freedoms were taken away, he says, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”. Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. It is important to find our own meaning in what we do in these circumstances, rather then focussing on the organization that we are distressed about. Of course, there may come a time that you will decide the organization you work for and you and your values are not a good match and you will move on. Make this a plan for your life to notice when you are distressed to consider whether you have any influence or control on your outer world or whether you need to let this go. And then focus on the inside job – you! Reset your mind. Live life fully!

Author: Lynda Chalmers