People find themselves worried about numerous situations that take their energy, focus and investment on a daily basis. This anxiety and fretting is stealing time from their lives if they don’t know how to pick their battles and determine what control they, alone, hold. The ability to decipher between taking action to create changes or letting go and recognizing “it is what it is” can lend to healthy functioning in life.
Individuals can only control their own behaviors and actions. It’s impossible to control others or situations. People will do what they are going to do regardless of the investment in trying to change them. They can only change themselves, and it’s important to recognize we don’t hold a remote control in which we can manipulate or determine their choices. You can have an affect on individuals and situations based on your own behaviors and choices, but it’s impossible to control every part of an outcome, as many variables are involved.
Clients come into therapy on a weekly basis dealing with depression and anxiety related to experiencing a lack of control related to others or circumstances. These people begin to experience freedom, peace of mind and increased coping when they’re able to accept that despite the situations weighing them down, they have empowerment in their own steps toward the future. Being able to adjust to upsetting circumstances is the ability to look at struggles and define what areas you have direct control over and what actions you can take to increase your own healthy functioning.
As I grow older, I have found myself evaluating my situations on a case-by-case basis. I frequently tell myself, “it is what it is” about situations that, in the younger years, I thought I could control and manipulate. I have also found myself looking at events and asking if the situation is worth my emotional investment, as there are many frustrations in life, some not meant to be a battle but an opportunity for acceptance, tolerance, patience, change and understanding. I teach these skills to clients and have found it creates peace of mind and acceptance, which in turn leads to positive adjustment in many situations that are uncomfortable.
Positive adjustment is about acceptance, and acceptance is recognizing things may happen in life that are out of our control. Again, the only thing you’re able to control is your thoughts, actions and behaviors despite your circumstances. I encourage people to look at areas of their lives they have been worried about and see that when they look at struggles as opportunities instead of difficulties, it’s freeing and empowering. Begin to ask yourself if is this a battle to be fought or a moment to say, “it is what it is,” and move forward with confidence you’ll be able to deal with anything life throws your way.
“It is what it is” is not being passive or giving up responsibility for your own actions, but it’s realizing that acceptance of what we can not control can decrease anxiety and increase peace of mind.
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