Who’s in Control?
What emotions are showing up over and over again in your life? Is it anger, fear, regret or guilt? Are you able to deal successfully with these feelings? If they continue to show up over and over again or seem to be stronger than appropriate for the situation - I’d say it is safe to assume the answer to that question is no. Why do you suppose that is? Why are you unable to let go of the anger, fear, regret, guilt or whatever feeling that keeps showing up? Is it possible that you believe that you don’t have any control over what you feel – willing to blame others instead of taking responsibility?
Let me share with you a dialogue I recently had with someone. The basis of this conversation was that this woman was angry because she felt her ex-husband was taking advantage of her. She felt she was being generous allowing him to watch their kids in her home because he only had a one bedroom apartment, making this arrangement more comfortable for him and the kids. However, she found evidence that while he was at her house and watching their kids he was engaging in relationships with a young female. Understand this is not a debate as to whether or not she was justified in her feelings or whether he was right or wrong. It is an illustration of how you can decide how you feel and determine who is in control of your life.
Client: Okay so now I'm venting but I really need some advice here, am I over reacting? Coach: Only you can answer this question - do you feel justified in your anger or do you feel that your reaction to this situation is overboard? – Lesson: Here she is seeking permission from others whether her feelings are justified – who is in control here?
Client: Or is it normal to be this angry? Coach: Everyone experiences emotions at different levels - so the question is whether or not you feel that this level of anger is a normal reaction or is there more to the anger then what is showing up on the surface? What is causing such a huge level of anger? What does his behavior mean to you - lack of respect; for you, for himself, for your kids, over stepping boundaries - you not respecting your own boundaries? Dig a little deeper here and see what you find. Lesson: Here I am allowing her to take back some of the control and try to uncover what is causing the anger so she can begin to implement actions that will remove such a strong reaction in the future – again regaining control.
Client: I want to punch a wall right now! Coach: What would be an alternative method for releasing your anger? Physical outlet is a great alternative - punch a pillow maybe instead of a wall, go for a jog or long walk or write down in a notebook or a journal all the angry feelings that you are experiencing. It is definitely a good idea to release these feelings; the key is to do it in a way that is respectful toward you, your kids and yes your ex. Lesson: Here she is given permission to feel and release the emotions while maintaining control over the situation.
Client: So after I found out, I dug through his stupid myspace account, and found out she is some 18 year old girl, not sure whether she is in high school or not. Don't care he's 25! Now that may not seem a huge issue, but he has 2 kids!! That he is supposed to help take care of. Coach: I can surely appreciate your feelings of anger here, however, is it fair to say that it would be extremely difficult and frustrating trying to control another person’s behavior (even if it is the father of your children) because we don't agree with it? How does it make you feel when you try to make him show up differently, frustrated and angry by the sounds of it, yes? What can you do differently here? How can you honor your house, your space and your children - without expecting him to be something different than he is? Lesson: Here she is challenged to try and control only that which she has the ability – herself, her feelings and her environment. The first step in finding peace in your life is understanding that we only have control over what we do and how we feel and letting go of the illusion that we have a right to control others behaviors.
Can you see now that how you react is a matter of choice? I know it sounds easier said then done, but if you want to have control over how you live your life then you must decide how you react to situations and make choices that support what you want. So do you want to take responsibility for how your life is or do you want to continue to be at the mercy of others and allow them to determine whether you are happy or not? It’s your choice, what will it be?
If your choice is to begin to take responsibility for your happiness, then I encourage you to hire a coach to support you – sign up for a 30 minute self empowerment coaching session and get started today!
Article written by Lisa Fredette
To connect with Lisa, learn about Life Coaching and Divorce Recovery, or gain other self-help, click HERE
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