Some things are under our control, while others are not under our control. Under our control are conception, choice, desire, aversion, and, in a word, everything that is our own doing; not under our control are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, everything that is not our own doing. Furthermore, the things under our control are by nature free, unhindered, and unimpeded; while the things not under our control are weak, servile, subject to hindrance, and not our own. Remember, therefore, that if what is naturally slavish you think to be free, and what is not your own to be your own, you will be hampered, will grieve, will be in turmoil, and will blame both gods and men; while if you think only what is your own to be your own, and what is not your own to be, as it really is, not your own, then no one will ever be able to exert compulsion upon you, no one will hinder you, you will blame no one, will find fault with no one, will do absolutely nothing against your will, you will have no personal enemy, no one will harm you, for neither is there any harm that can touch you. Epictetus, Enchiridion 1
Life can be stressful because of various reasons. People are worried about their jobs, family, friends, colleagues, relationships and many other things. But one thing that is common among people worldwide is worrying about the things that are not under their control. These types of people will think about their past and the things they could have done distinctly to improve the result. They exhaust their time thinking that they are responsible for all the wrong things. Some people even care about silly things like what will be the weather tomorrow or how well the spouse’s presentation will go, etc.
When you start caring about the things that are not under your control, you are actually wasting your time and energy. Caring about those things also make you stressful, anxious and depressed. People fail to understand that their life is becoming stressful because they are not accepting the things they cannot control. The reason why many of them worry is that they think by worrying they can gain control over that situation, but actually, they are not. For a matter of fact, if they have control over the thing or a situation, they should not be worried about it in the first place.
Stress has a larger impact on your lives by allowing things, which you cannot change or have an impact on, get to you. The main source of unhappiness is when you are unable to let things go. It is not so easy but you should know there are many situations that you cannot control. So it doesn’t mean you should let them control your mind because past situations and thoughts do not fix anything but they only stress you out.
Things that you cannot Control
- What-if Scenarios
You do not know what is going to happen in future but many people guess the circumstances and start worrying. They make assumptions and focus on things that may never happen at all. You can control only about you and your decisions.
- Past Situations
The past is gone and you don’t have any control over it. Every one of us has regrets or has made mistakes in the past but now it is not possible to change it.
- What Others Think
These days, people are always ready to either criticize you or in rare cases appreciate you. But you may never know what people are thinking about you. There is nothing anyone can do about it. You cannot control them or their opinions and thoughts about you.
You might have hurt someone or you may have behaved badly with others. Those things have already happened and it cannot be changed regardless of the number of times you think about it. You can neither force people to change nor control the situation or a person. You need to accept the result and focus on productive things to do. If you are not accepting things realistically, you are having false expectations.
How you are making your Life More Stressful
As soon as you start taking the blame on yourself, you are beginning to get into a negative circle. Putting too much pressure on you will only give poor results. You are aware that many things are not under control so blaming you for everything is not a good thing. In order to be highly successful, people make various decisions and work independently towards pursuing their goals. They want to excel and fulfill all their dreams. But it is not necessary that all the decisions they take would lead them to the path of success. The decisions can backfire and the situations can become what you had not expected. Completely blaming yourself and feeling upset about the situation will only bring stress, anxiety and depression.
A person would be working on a project with his teammates. Unfortunately, the project isn’t successful. So, many individuals take things personally. They blame themselves for the issues in a project. This is very stressful for them and will make unproductive. Instead of taking the blame, the individuals can learn a lesson from that and work harder the next time.
What We Control
People are in control of their actions only. Many individuals do not realize this simple thing and tend to get stressed over unnecessary thoughts. Often people believe that they can control or influence what happens in life. But that is not true and things can get beyond control and this harm them in the long run. People worry about the bills to pay every month, family responsibilities, irregular colleagues at work and much more. People have to accept that bills will keep coming, the responsibilities will only increase with time and the colleagues will work in their style only. They need to understand that they cannot control what others are doing.
“I hope the train isn’t late today”, “My favorite team should win today”. These thoughts will only increase stress as the actions are not under your control. If you are thinking about the things you don’t have control over, you are only wasting time.
Many people worldwide have excessive debt that has to be paid over a period of time. They think that they can pay the debts by changing their spending habits but often they cannot. They don’t have control even on their habits. So, people have to focus on important things rather than on things that they can’t control.
Life is Not Fair
There are many things that are only in your mind and not in reality. For example, many people believe that life is not fair to them and they are feeling crushed. The situations feel very unfair and people are not able to let go. They always have feelings of injustice and think that bad things always happen only to them. In every situation, they are the victim and they don’t get any support from others. These kinds of thoughts can occur if you have had a challenging situation in the past, such as difficult childhood, accident, physical assault or betrayal from somebody. Due to this, you will have feelings of anger, injustice and sometimes guilt.
The feelings of injustice and anger rob you of opportunities and happiness in the present and make you unproductive. They are also the reason for stress and depression and affect your physical health and mind. It is not true that bad things happen only to a particular individual. Bad situations are common in everyone’s life. It is the attitude and determination of an individual that helps them to come out of those situations successfully. Persistent anger and negative thoughts make you feel stressed and prevent you from thinking good for you.
Many things bother us and one of them is people. Almost everything related to them can upset us easily and disturb our well-being. Some people tend to blame others for their suffering. As soon as they identify the cause, people begin to try and fix them. They try to change other individual’s behavior into something they seem right. They want others to behave according to them so that they won’t feel annoyed. However, there are limits to what you can do and what you can change about others.
It is not possible to change other people’s beliefs and actions according to your wishes. People and situations can be the cause of your suffering and discontent. For instance, someone talks rudely to you or he behaves very strangely with you. Those people can be the cause for your suffering but if you are trying to change the situation or the person, you have to stop. This is because you cannot change them no matter how much effort you put in. This is the reason for frustration for an individual with false hope and expectations.
Cannot Accept Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes regularly. Mistakes help us learn so that we do not repeat them in future. Some mistakes are really small, for example, an individual forgot to get something from the supermarket. Some are big, for example, a person hit his car against a tree and got himself injured because he dozed off while driving. No one likes to be wrong. But it matters how we behave when someone tells us that we are at fault. Many people find it difficult to admit that they are wrong. They always feel that they are right in every situation.
These types of people do not like when someone tells them about their mistake. They don’t accept their mistakes and believe that they are correct. They don’t want to accept that even they can make mistakes and that they can learn from those mistakes to avoid them in future. It can be stressful for many of them when they don’t own the mistakes and responsibilities. They don’t want to recognize the mistakes and accept being wrong.
Most of the people are already stressed due to multiple reasons and when they don’t accept that they cannot have control of every person or situation, they tend to become more stressed. Taking blame on a personal level and believing that you can influence what happens in life make you more stressed and prevent you from moving forward. Always complaining that life is not fair and thinking that you are the victim of bad situation always also drains your energy. Stress has a lot of negative effects on people’s lives. So, you need to stop caring for things that you cannot control in your life.