You’re the reason you’re feeling irritated, or angry, or stressed or frustrated.
How do I know this? I know it because you don’t have control over other people. How you are feeling right now is a result of how you perceive the world around you.
Trust me, I know.
Over the years, I have built a real following on my blog…
Tens of thousands of people read my blog every month. Hundreds read it every day. I’m not bragging or anything, I’m saying that what I say matters. I feel obligated to always put my best foot forward. I feel that it’s my duty to show up with my blog post every morning, as promised.
So on days when I’m grouchy or angry or tired, I need to stay focused and be sure to bring it because people are depending on me. People expect their morning blog post and I expect to come through on my promise. I write my blog every day, regardless of how I feel.
Why? Because I am a professional and professionals show up.
So with that being said…
I’m finally at a spot where I can come clean and admit that I’ve been going through a bit of a depression bout.
I couldn’t tell you where it came from. In fact, I hardly even realized it was happening. A few days ago, it all hit me. I was feeling the weight of things that I had very little control of. I realized that I was letting the behavior of other people control how I felt about myself.
That’s not like me. One of my personality traits is the ability to roll with the punches. I don’t take things too personally. I don’t get too excited when things are going well and I don’t get too down when things are going bad. I can always figure it out.
Most of the time, I am quite happy. Why wouldn’t I be? I have a beautiful life. I have a more beautiful life than I ever thought I could have or even thought I deserved. I love my work. I love the people in my life. I have love for myself and I have self respect.
So what do I do when I am feeling down? What would any man do in this situation? I hide my feelings and I put on a happy face. That’s the healthy way to deal with these things. Isn’t it?
As expected, things came to a boiling point. The pot boiled over and I was forced to take a look at myself. I was forced to come clean about what I was feeling. I was forced to be honest with myself.
To have this sudden realization the other day was jarring. It’s been quite some time since I have felt that way. I recognized it, I’m working through it. It’s part of the process.
I mention it because it serves a good purpose. I mention it because it’s healthy to be reminded of the universal truth. It’s good to be humbled and reminded about the realities of control.
That’s what we are looking for, isn’t it?
We want control.
We want control over how we feel and control over the world around us. We want certainty and we want to see what’s coming. We want to know that “if I do this, then this will happen.”
Because if we had that, it would mean that we would never be vulnerable and we could never be snuck up on. We could never be fucked over or blindsided in our journey.
But that’s not how it works. You already know that.
Here’s how it works.
Listen up, because I am about to tell you one of the most valuable truths that you will ever know.
The only thing that you will ever have control of is your reactions.
You can’t control what your co worker says. You can’t control the stock market. You can’t control when a client will email you at 3 in the morning and annoy the fuck out of you. You can’t control the weather and you can’t control when your car breaks down or when your dog kicks you in the face when you’re sleeping.
You don’t control any of it. Nothing. Let go.
What you can control is how you react to all of those things.
Isn’t it twisted how we try so hard to control the world around us, but we put so little effort into building utility around the one thing we can control? Why we do give away our reactions so easily? Why are we so quick to anger or fear or insecurity when in reality, that is the one thing that we have power over.
We can exercise. We can meditate. We can talk to other people about what we are feeling. But we don’t. We hold it in and we blame other people for how we feel. We choose to suffer.
That was my mistake. That was my mishap. I failed to take ownership over my reactions. It’s a lesson learned. A lesson that I have already learned many times in the past and a lesson that I am sure to suffer through again in the future.
Because experience will always be our greatest teacher.
So take a minute. Stop! Right now. Pause, take a breathe… inhale slow and be present.
What are you feeling? Are you anxious? Are you excited? Are you optimistic about the day?
Whatever you are feeling, now is the time to recognize that you are feeling this way because you choose to. It is your choice to react to whatever circumstances are in your life right now. Life is hard, shit happens to good people. It’s part of life.
But why suffer?
Why agonize over things you can’t control?
It’s easier said than done of course. I am by no means speaking to you on my high horse. Rather, I am writing this article to myself. This is serving as a piece of self reflection and a notice to be mindful and grateful of all the blessings around me.
Next time I am unhappy with other people or I feel like people aren’t behaving in a way that I expect them to, I will remind myself that it’s not them. It’s me.
No one else is responsible for how I feel.
I am responsible for how I feel because I am responsible for my reactions.
It’s not them.