Monday, November 7, 2011

Motivational Monday #61 - Control What You Can and Let The Rest Go

Parenting is an odd thing.  When first hold your little bundle of joy you realize that you are completely responsible for their health, their safety, their ability to thrive...well, their everything. 

As they grow you make all sorts of decisions. You determine how they will dress, what they will eat, and what activities they will try.  You are in control of their universe.

And then it happens.  It happens to each and every parent in a different way and at a different time, but it happens.

We realize that we do not actually have any control over our child.  We may still buy their clothes, but that may be the end of it.  They have minds of their own.  They have wants, desires, fears, strengths, weaknesses and opinions all of their own.  They are in fact their own little humans.

And then something else happens.  It is something we all fear, even if we never put that fear into words.  Our child gets sick.  The doctors don't know what is wrong or how to fix it.  They aren't sure what medications will work or what side effects you will see.  This is more than the flu, this is serious.  You find yourself sitting at the hospital pacing the floor. 

Then it hits can't control this.  It is an overwhelming feeling.  It is almost paralyzing.  How can a parent not be able to help?  You already know they have their own thoughts and opinions.  You know they don't always agree with you, but aren't you still supposed to be able to protect them?

This is when you realize you must identify what you can control and let the rest go.  I know I just said that as if it is easy.  I know firsthand that it is not.  Maybe you are not dealing with illness, maybe you are dealing with poor choices or maybe just random circumstances, but whatever the cause, you realize you can not control the situation.

This is when you need to fall back and think.  Many of us put energy into changing situations we have no influence to change.  In the end we are exhausted and mad, but nothing has been gained. 

Taking the time to identify our areas of influence and power may be the best thing we can do.  Can we find different doctors? Can we locate different resources? Can we find someone with new information or a new perspective?  What CAN we do?

You may never have been in a scary medical situation with your child.  Maybe it was your spouse or your parent.  Maybe it wasn't medical, but legal or maybe it just involved uncontrollable situations.  Either way, most of us have been left feeling helpless and out of control one time or another. 

I may be off base, but as I go through this situation right now, I am finding more peace by identifying what I can do than dwelling on what I can't.  I am more able to function when I have a plan of what I can contribute to forward motion.  Standing still only makes it worse for me.

That is my Motivational Monday thought.  Identify what you can control and stop spending energy on what you can't.  I know this isn't a new concept, but sometimes it bears repeating.

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