What makes life so complicated, when it really should be simple, fun and fabulous? Have you ever thought about what causes you the most stress? Let me ask you this, is it something or someone out of your control? Is it the Coronavirus? Is it the weather? Is it your partner, your kids, your friends, your colleagues or your family? I have finally realised that it’s so easy to get stressed and confused trying to negotiate, work out and control things that I have no control over. So, I decided to focus on the only person I can control. That’s me.
I have had a few of these conversations this week, so the content for this week’s blog seems to just flow naturally, and it follows up beautifully from the podcast I did with Natalie E. West, called, ‘The relationship that counts,’ It started with a conversation with a friend, who has a business, and I asked him how he was going with it and life in general. He said, ‘Do you know? Life is really complicated at the moment.’ I asked him why and he said, ‘Things are not going as I want, and, people are unpredictable.’ Right there, in one succinct sentence, he summed up life, when we take the focus off ourselves.
Ironically, I have just got off a zoom call with a great mate who admitted he was feeling overwhelmed with everything he was doing at the moment. He is a devoted family man, has a demanding job that he loves and is one of the most caring and giving people I have ever met. Yet, in this giving, being and doing for others, he has lost focus on the one person who is central to his health, his happiness and his life… himself.
During the week, I was a contributor on an online panel event, with three other wonderful people, talking to parents about their impact and influence on raising healthy people. Ironic, I know, as I don’t have any children, except a fluffy one! Having said that, I was a child myself, and I have been speaking in schools for the last 4 years, so I know a little something about the topic. The things that seem to cause parents the most stress include; how to communicate with their children, what their children will do, how they will behave, how they respond to challenges and how they will turn out in life. These all seem like pretty reasonable things to be concerned about, right? There were many amazing ideas and suggestions made by the other panellists, so I had to try and add something of value.
In my simple mind, and based on many thoughts and conversations I had experienced this week, I suggested that, as much as we wish we could control other people, there is only one person we are in control of, that is ourselves. As a child, where my parents had the most influence and impact on me and my life were not things they told me to do, they were things I observed them doing in the pursuit of being the best they could be. If your children are anything like you were, I am guessing they aren’t really listening to you, even though you are spouting great wisdom and suggesting sensible practices. Am I right? What your children are doing, as you did with your parents, is watching you and following the lead you are setting. The question is; what type of people do you want your children to become? Then, as Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘be the change you want to see.’
This week has so powerfully reinforced to me that the only person I really need to worry about and focus on is me. I know I cannot create change in others that I am not willing to create in myself. I know that I cannot create a wave of wellness around the world, if that world doesn’t start in my own home. I know that I can’t do all the things I want to do, and be the person I want to be for others, if I don’t focus on my own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. This may sound selfish, but it’s the opposite of selfish, it is, in fact, the best thing you can do for the people you care about. Everything you think, say and do will create a ripple effect that will impact many lives. That being the case, stop worrying about how you can control the uncontrollable and focus on the one person you have control over… yourself!