I noticed myself doing something recently that really surprised me. Something I thought I had gotten so much better at reframing, or in fact had dropped all together. This sneaky little habit of constantly being concerned with other people’s expectations.
Has that ever happened to you?
I caught myself out questioning how can I control this right now? ‘This’ being how do I change their reaction or response. If they’re grumpy how can I shift their mood? How do I stop them being so…?
It’s not my role to make anybody happy. In fact, more than that, it’s not even in my power to do so. I cannot actually control or dictate how other people respond, what emotions are triggered for them, or how they act or behave in any situation. And nor can you.
I listened to a podcast interview with Gabby Bernstein about her book ‘Judgement Detox’ and she shared that some of those triggers around judgement—you know where we get fired up about something someone says, or we feel irritated or annoyed in that moment and immediately find ourselves blaming or judging them for their response—are actually the most acute opportunities for growth within ourselves. They’re essentially spotlights for where we’re judging ourselves and our own reactions and responses, or where we need to do a little self-reflection.
Which made me think, when I get that thought in my head about how do I control this (them), it’s really me putting my judgy pants on in some way.
The way I see it is our innate need to protect ourselves, means that we’re wired to be in control. Yet we focus on those things that are external to us, because it feels safer than going within. We get some level of control or certainty from casting blame outwards.
What if we started to see those moments as little mini spotlights?
Guidance for where we can next focus within in order to get where we want to be?
So often if we’re feeling lost, stuck, disconnected, overwhelmed (as I like to say, insert your word here that resonates most!), it’s because we’re chasing control of something outside of us.
So the next time you find yourself chasing control, the only way to actually get it back (for good) is to turn that spotlight on to YOU. Try these out for some instant illumination:
What’s this really about? What could I learn from this right now? What is this telling me about what I need right now? How could I approach this differently?
Putting ourselves directly in the spotlight means we get to choose how we respond. And that means we ultimately alter the outcome of the situation itself, giving us back our control.
Need more of a fix on getting back control in a way that actually works? Check out these two previous Blog posts:
Let us know how you go in your spotlights – share with us over at on our Facebook page! And if you know others in your life who have felt a little stuck lately (or been putting on those judgy pants), send this post their way. Could be just what they need for a little illumination.