“I realise that most of the unhappiness in my life is due to other people not living up to my own expectations, or my fear of how others will react to me. How dare I expect others to think and act in a way that will make me happy, especially when I’m struggling to think and act in a way that makes MYSELF happy, let alone others.”
It’s been so long since I’ve written anything here. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to formulate my thoughts in such a way that I’m prepared to share anything with the random strangers that might find themselves reading this…
Ok, pseudo-disclaimer aside, I have a simple epiphany I want to share with you so I won’t forget about it. Sometimes the simplest idea you’ve heard a million times just finds its way through to you in the strangest way at just the right time. It resonates. It lodges itself somewhere in your mind where and when it matters…
I was in the mood for something different the other night, so I thought I’d give Derren Brown’s “Miracle” on Netflix a go. One piece of aural data got stuck in my mind:
The only things I can control are my own thoughts and my own actions.
Seems so very obvious, doesn’t it? Even if it wasn’t that obvious, the concept comes across as being simple. Maybe not. He does however go on to say that if you let go of everything else in your life (I’m paraphrasing drastically… I think), a big weight would be lifted.
So let me see if I can make sense of these two seemingly simple concepts. Thoughts and actions. Mine specifically.
Controlling my thoughts seems like something that could only be achieved through strict discipline, mantras, meditation and maybe even isolation. I hope not. I’m definitely not a disciplined person at all. I’ve only momentarily dabbled in meditation. I am VERY averse to those things people chant in the bathroom mirror in order to reinforce certain thoughts and “build positive pathways” in their brains. Despite my best efforts, I have come to the conclusion that I’m unable to isolate myself from the world outside completely. And anyway, if the whole world found their bliss through utter isolation we wouldn’t have much of a human race left for isolation purposes in 100 years.
Oh my, I’m bored already.
My point is, my initial thoughts on controlling aforementioned thoughts weren’t very practical. As a person whose job (and core being) depends on him giving his thoughts free reign in order to be creative, trying to reign in those thoughts, no matter where they end up leading, could prove detrimental.
Thing is, the concept of control doesn’t have to be so strict. Control is not absolute. It can vary dramatically from a slight nudge to a severe collision. Each situation requires a different level of control, if any.
So no, my mind is not something I can control in the strictest of manners. I wouldn’t want to.
It’s our effort to control the environment around us that can be the biggest source of frustration and unhappiness. It is our effort to control the people, the objects and situations around us that can drain our essence. We hit rock bottom when we fail to mold our reality into what we thought would be the perfect utopia we were so convinced would hold the key to bliss, contentment, and happiness.
So let go of the fact that you can control the thoughts and actions of those around you, and focus on how you shape your own reality around you internally and externally.
Just let go of the rest.
That’s where your actions come into play. Whether you believe in ideals, philosophies, goals, epiphanies or just wing it on a daily basis, the only proof of anything that goes on in your head is through your actions.
If you manage to realise that you have no control over others, not only will you be able to notice and control your own actions, but as time goes by, even those split-second reactions will change. Surely. Right? I think so anyway. I might be wrong.
Whether we have a lifetime or a millisecond to think about our actions before thinking turns into doing, if we do so knowing that the very best we can hope for is to influence our OWN reality, then maybe what seems to be a somewhat selfish concept could turn into something a bit more globally beneficial.
Controlling how I act in and react to a situation could benefit the world I live in.
I don’t care what or who you think you are. It all comes down to your actions. Let go of controlling others. Let go of assuming that what others think of you should have a bearing on your own thoughts and actions. They shouldn’t be able to control your mind and body any more than you can control theirs.
I realise that most of the unhappiness in my life is due to other people not living up to my expectations, or my fear of how others will react to me. How dare I expect others to think and act in a way that will make me happy, especially when I’m struggling to think and act in a way that makes MYSELF happy, let alone others. Does that make sense?
I’m not trying to be particularly eloquent today. I’m not going to read through this post a million times to make sure I formulated the concepts in ways that make sense.
All I’m going to do is realise that the only time I have any control is in the here and now, and the only things I can hope to control, or steer, or influence are my thoughts and my actions.
If I’m lucky, I can be the wind in someone’s sail through the example that I live. I will not try to be their rudder while I myself don’t even have a destination in mind.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash