Focus upon what you can control…

May 7, 2019

At my Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce referral network meeting this morning our norma-nickolosonspeaker was Norma Nicholson, author, motivational speaker and owner of Wise Owl Enterprises, a life coaching business. Norma helps people deal with what life throws at them and live a better life. If I boil down what Norma talked about in her advice it is this – “Focus upon what you can control.”

Norma uses several examples of things that have happened in her life and in the lives of others that she has helped, to set the stage for how she helped herself and now helps others. Her examples are all things that happen to many people – the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job. These are things, most of which are totally out of our control, that just happen to us. What Norma focuses people to look at is how they react to those things and how to take control of those reactions.

I’ve posted here several times about letting go of things and realizing that we cannot control all of the events in life that happen, no matter how hard we try or would like toabusived wife believe that we are in control. What we can control is how we react to those events. Almost all of life’s big events cause an initial, sometimes overwhelming, emotional reaction. There is nothing that we can do to avoid the fear or sadness or sense of loss that washes over us at the moment of impact of such an event; however, we can, and should, try to recover and regain control of ourselves as soon as we can. Why? Because we are also often called upon to make quick decisions and to answer the immediate question – What now?

If we just surrendered to the grief, anger, or remorse that initially overtook us, we might slip into depression, lash out in response, or otherwise react foolishly. We would be letting the event control us, instead of controlling our response. The beginning of facing the wall 2regaining control of the situation is the admission to ourselves that we cannot or could not have controlled the event. For some that is difficult. They tend to spend time in self-recrimination, searching their minds for something that they could have done differently to prevent the event from occurring. What a waste that is. It did occur and there is no going back, no do-overs. There is only, “What now?”

So maybe you’d benefit from buying and reading one of Norma’s books. You might also benefit from going back to re-read some of what I’ve posted here about dealing with life’s challenges, such as this post on letting go.  Maybe reading about being in control of your life instead of life-s event would help. There are other posts about how to deal with life by dealing with the issue of control. The point of most of them is coming to grips with the fact that you are not in control of anything except how you choose to react to what is happening around you and to you. That is up to you.

Many people find that turning to prayer in difficult situations helps. Perhaps it is that momentary need to refocus upon God that gives them the peace that they needed to start woman-prayingto think clearly again. Whatever, the cause, the effect of turning to prayer can be immediate and dramatic. Most importantly, when you turn to God you have to let go of control of the situation and admit that there was nothing that you could do to change it, it happened. Then you can move on to the question of – now what? Your most effective prayer might be, “Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to get through this situation.”

Whether you turn to prayer or not, the advice that both Norma and I provide is to focus upon what you can control – your attitude and reaction to the situation. Don’t allow yourself to become self-defeating, but rather be self-empowering, through a positive attitude. A saying from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words Blog comes to mind – “If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.  If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.”  (Unknown)

There will be a tomorrow. Focus upon what you can control.


Focus on the right things…

October 25, 2016

“Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.”  (Unvirtuous Abbey – from a recent post on the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

Jack went on to write – I “see” sin as failing to love and respect others, yourself and your God.  You figure out what that means.

It is open season on judging the sins of others during this “silly season” of presidential debaterspolitics. Both presidential candidates, and indeed most candidates for any office at all levels, tend to resort to mudslinging against their opponents, rather than focus upon what they would do if elected. The game seems to be trying to make the opponent seem like the worse choice because they have sinned differently than you.  Our country has a rich history of this type of behavior, going back to the founding fathers. These days the mud being slung is not about getting in bed with slaves, but getting in bed with wealthy donors and selling out votes on issues (although there is still a lot of bedroom or locker room talk). Focus on the right things.

In our own daily lives we have ample opportunities to judge someone else because they are different from us. It may or may not be about any sins that they commit differently fromjudge things us. Perhaps it is just what color or race or religion or sexual orientation they may have been born to or adopted. Perhaps it is how they choose to dress or to act. Maybe it is how they talk or what they have to say that we find offensive because it is different from our notion of things. Whatever it is we find offensive or sinful, it is likely because it is different from us. We let those differences become the focus of our relationship with them.  Focus on the right things.

Jack’s reference to loving and respecting other, yourself and your God is based upon the Two Great Commandments –  Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. A part of showing love is showing respect.  Loving and respecting others means not judging them because they sin differently than you. Focus on the right things.

ugly mirrorIf you must judge someone, buy a hand mirror and hold it up in front of you.  Get the person that you see in that mirror straightened out before you worry about the actions, beliefs or sins of others. I suspect that, if you focus on following the two great commandments, you will find that your concerns about the sins of others will fade away and hopefully your own sins fade, too.  Focus on the right things.

Perhaps we all could use the advice that the Bellamy Brothers put into their song  Lord, help me be the kind of person that my dog thinks I am. Dogs don’t worry about the sins of others.  Dogs don’t judge and give unconditional love.  Perhaps weno judgement could learn from our dogs and focus on the right things.

Have a great and non-judgmental day.