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  • Writer's pictureAshley Zaborac

Get Back Control of Your Life

The moments you lost control of your life.

The way you're going to get it back.

Ashley Zaborac, M.A., L.C.P.C.

It's time to take back control of your life. How did you lose control in the first place, and how do you know that you lost it? How do you get it back?

Five Signs that You Are Not in Control of Your Life and

Five Ways to Get Your Power Back

Written By: Ashley Zaborac M.A., L.C.P.C.

Control: to exercise restraint or direction over, to dominate, to command, to regulate. While the definitions of control are readily available by the simple click of a mouse, the very essence of the word remains elusive to many of those who seek it. The majority of people are on a quest for control in one way or another but are all too often misguided in their attempts by focusing on external measures of control. This is dangerous territory for those who wish to gain control in their lives.

In order for these control-seekers to gain the object of their desire, they must be aware of the power that they have and how to effectively use it. Power: the ability to act or do; the capability of doing or accomplishing something; strength; might. People cannot gain control over their lives by focusing on the illusion of power they have over the external world, but instead turn inward and rediscover the power they possess in their own worlds.

The following five signs are telltale indications that you are not in control of your life:

  1. You frequently find yourself preoccupied with thoughts related to “how so-and-so MADE you feel” or “how you HAD to react a certain way because of what someone else did.” If you find yourself thinking in this manner, you are serving up, on a silver platter, all of the control and power in your life to all of the people and events that MAKE you react in a certain way. For instance, your boss is being unfair and not treating you as you would like. As a result, you were “forced” to quit your job. Ultimately, you may have communicated your discontent; however, you have failed to take personal ownership in the DECISION (to quit) thereby rendering you unemployed and penniless. In this situation, the boss has all of the power, and you see yourself as a victim of circumstance.

  2. You lean on the ideas of fate, luck, chance, and karma as reasons for how your life is playing out. “Life has dealt me a bad hand.” “I must be being punished for something.” This perception on life gives all of the power and control up to some pre-conceived destiny. Your decisions have no bearing on what “happens to you.” These ideas tend to give the impression that you cannot improve your plight and that you are stuck.

  3. You think or mutter about the things other people could do to improve your life. “If he would just make more money, I would be happier.” “If she would just stop being so negative, I could enjoy my life.” This error in thinking further ingrains the idea that you do not have power over your own happiness. You are putting the power of your happiness in the hands of others who will never be as invested in it as you are. You own your happiness. You own your unhappiness.

  4. You find yourself listing all of the reason you CAN’T achieve the things you desire. You build your own obstacles by doubting yourself or imposing external rules or values on yourself. “I am stuck in my life because I am too old to make a change.” “I am not a good writer so I can’t go to college.” This way of thinking results in a self-defeating loss of control. In the end, the only limits are the ones that you put on yourself.

  5. You believe that you cannot change because this is how you were raised or because your experiences made you this way. You believe that “you just can’t help it.” You know that something you are doing is negatively impacting your life, but you believe that there is nothing you can do about it. It becomes your part of your legacy, your birthright. You repeat the patterns that you hated growing up, and you feel powerless over it. This belief makes you powerless over the person that you are and your ability to grow to be the person you want to be.If you are in the majority of the population that has lost control over their lives as a result of the items listed above, here are five ways to get power over your life and take back control.

  6. Be realistic about what you can control. There are things in life that you cannot control regardless of how much you try. You simply do not have the power. You can live a healthy lifestyle, but that does not guarantee that illness will elude you. In this instance, you have the power to choose to live a healthy lifestyle and give yourself the best odds at staying healthy. Focus on what you can control and make choices that will benefit your life. Do not focus on what could happen that is outside of your control.

  7. Stop trying to control others. You have absolutely ZERO control over other people. This includes significant others, employees, and even children. Yes, we can use tactics, manipulation, rewards, and punishments to persuade others to carry out our will. This gives the illusion of control, but it is not real. Trying to control others results in frustration and the breakdown in relationships. Ultimately, you will feel more powerless as a consequence of your attempts to control. This brings us to the next point.

  8. Be you regardless of what the external world throws your way. Stop using the excuse, “I did this because the other person did that.” In any given situation you have the opportunity to choose how to RESPOND or to fall victim to thoughtlessly REACTING. To respond means that you have thought about your options and that you have made a choice for some reason. To react means that you have allowed your emotions to get the best of you, and you have simply acted without thinking or choosing. By responding, you get to choose the best action possible based on who you want to be, your values, your beliefs, and your goals.

  9. Start Believing that you CAN. You can change. You can be better. You can improve your life. As a matter of fact, you are the ONLY one who can. Nobody can do it for you. Start knocking down the barriers by becoming more aware of the negative messages that you are sending yourself, and replace them with positivity and motivation. Stop blaming others for the parts of your life that you do not like. Do something about it. If you do not like your relationship, it is not about the other person changing. It is about you changing to be the person that you want to be in the relationship and creating the kind of relationship you want.

  10. Use your past as an opportunity for growth, not a crutch for bad behavior and broken relationships. People can choose to allow their pasts to define their lives and their journeys, or they can use their pasts to learn how to create a better life. Take control of your PRESENT. If you know that you inherited your father’s temper, do something about it. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it will take time. However, you can be better. Your bad temper can be a part of your story, but it doesn’t have to determine the course of the story or its ending.The answer to acquiring and maintaining power and control in your life is to look within. You will not find it on the outside. If you are seeking control in your life start taking steps to get it by taking action towards making yourself happy and reaching your goals. Do not blame others. Do not make excuses. Think positively and knock down the obstacles that deter you from your path. Focus on your growth instead of changing others.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change,

the courage to change the ONE I can, and the wisdom to

know that ONE is ME.”

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