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The Things I Cannot Control

Mostly everything, but let’s talk about it a little bit.

I cannot control the people that are a part of my life. For better or worse, I cannot control their actions, thoughts, feelings, and words. Much as I want to influence how people behave toward me and treat me, I really cannot control how a person close to me will act.

I cannot control how I am feeling inside. I can do my best to manage and understand how I am feeling inside yet I cannot control it. I cannot control the absolutely awful temper I have. I can do my best to manage and understand my absolutely awful temper yet I cannot control it. If I don’t talk about how I am feeling inside and if I don’t talk about my absolutely awful temper I will eventually get myself into trouble and create big problems in my life.

I cannot control the great pain that keeps returning to me. I cleanse my system of the deepest and darkest emotions through emotional release and I still cannot control the great pain that inevitably returns to me.

I cannot control the need I have to express myself through words. I can tell myself not to do it. I can make myself feel guilty for putting my thoughts into words and sharing them with whoever will read yet I cannot control the need I have to express myself through words.

I cannot control the need I have to express myself through music. I can tell myself not to do it. I can make myself feel guilty for putting my feelings into song and sharing it with whoever will listen yet I cannot control the need I have to express myself through music.

I cannot control the fact that the world does not want me to have money right now. I can tell myself that the world should pay me money for the things I have done and the things I will continue to do yet I cannot control the fact that right now the world does not want me to have money. I cannot control the fact that part of the world blames me for the current economic financial crisis (because of how I look and because I fit the profile of a male WASP). I cannot control it. Right now the world is focused on blame and who should pay.   

I cannot control the fact that the world likes to project anger onto me. I can tell myself that it is the world’s problem and not mine yet this will not change the fact that the world likes to project anger onto me. Much as I want to influence the world to be kind to me, I cannot control what feelings the world projects onto me.

I cannot control if the world wishes to isolate me and starve me of positivity. I can tell myself that people are hateful, vengeful, and spiteful toward me yet this does not change the fact that I cannot control all the negativity the world pushes toward me. Much as I want to influence the world to treat me with love and respect, I cannot control how the world acts toward me.

I cannot control the fact that I have an aesthetically pleasing face. I can tell myself that eventually people will come around yet I cannot control the face that was given to me. I cannot control the thoughts I have of deforming it for you. Sad as I make myself look; happy as I make myself look I cannot control the fact that the world will probably always view me with a suspicious and distrusting eye regardless of the expression I show.  

All of this I cannot control. And there is a whole bunch more I cannot control. What I can determine is my acknowledgment and understanding of the things I cannot control. As I acknowledge and understand the things I cannot control I become and stronger and happier person.

The minute I attempt to control the things I cannot control is the same minute I begin to lash out at the world with flailing anger, frustration, and fear. I cannot control if the world wants me to make a scene. I can tell myself the world wants me to be calm, cool, collected, and rational yet I cannot control if the world wants me to be the exact opposite.

I can learn to appreciate and respect the things I cannot control.

What things can you not control? How would your life change if you stopped trying to control the things that you cannot control? What can you acknowledge and understand today that will make your life easier tomorrow?

Matthew Polkinghorne

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