So many things happen in our lives that we can’t change, and don’t have any control over: losing jobs, money problems, deaths, life events, stress. For many people, accepting what you can’t change is a very scary thing to do. After all, accepting that you have no control over something is basically giving up trying to change it – and that’s a good thing!
U.S. senator Robert Bennett once said, “Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”
There are some things in life that you just have to learn to let go,in order to have more energy to focus on the things that you can control. If you spend too much time afraid of the things that you can’t change, you will have no way to focus on the things in life that you can change. Here is how to have the courage to accept what you can’t change, and learn to let go.
HERE’S HOW TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO ACCEPT WHAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE
“The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.” – Thucydides
1. WHAT CAN YOU CONTROL?
Licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist Amy Morin, LCSW, says, “There’s a brutal truth in life that some people refuse to accept: You have no control over many of the things that happen in your life.” Yes, you can’t control everything!
But what are the things you can control? What are the things that you have an ability to change right now? Most of those things are going to do with you, since you can’t control or change other people. Your attitude, your diet, your thoughts, your reactions to things – all of these things are tangible things that can be changed and controlled.
“You can’t prevent a storm from coming, but you can prepare for it. You can’t control how someone else behaves, but you can control how you react,” adds Morin.
When you determine what it is you can actually control, you’ll have something else to focus on, rather than the plethora of things that you can’t change. Shifting your focus will help you let go of the things that you can’t change a lot easier. Focusing your energy on yourself, rather than other people, or institutions that you have no control over, is the first step in building up that courage that you need to let go.
2. IDENTIFY YOUR FEARS
You can’t be courageous against something that you can’t name. What are you afraid of? You should ask yourself what you’re afraid will happen if you let go of the things that you can’t change. Once you’re able to identify the things that you’re afraid will happen, you can more easily build up a plan of action if those things were to happen.
Instead of thinking, “I’m afraid that I’ll lose my job”, you can start thinking, “What will I do if I lose my job?” Instead of focusing on the abstract fear of the situation, focus on the plan of action if that situation were to ever occur.
“Usually, the worst case scenario isn’t as horrible as you might imagine. Perhaps you’d struggle for a while, but there’s a good chance you’re mentally strong enough to bounce back. Acknowledging that you can handle the worst case scenario can help you put your energy into more productive places,” says Morin.
Challenge the things you can’t change with the things you can control, and you’ll be more easily able to let go of the things you can’t change.
accept what you can’t change
3. WORRYING VS. PROBLEM-SOLVING
We all worry every once in a while. We really can’t help it! After all, we’re only human. There’s a huge difference between worrying over something, and actively trying to solve a problem. Say that you do lose your job. Should you spend your time turning over all of your worries in your head, focusing on the bad things that could happen now that your job has been compromised?
Or, do you think it would be more productive to think of solutions to this situation, and focus on solving the problem at hand, and allowing yourself to think of, or take, steps that can improve the situation? See? There’s a difference between worrying and problem-solving, and once you have that down, you’ll be able to have the courage to let go of all those things that you can’t change, because you know you’ll be able to work on solving the problem if they do happen.
4. HEALTHY AFFIRMATIONS
You are going to be your best cheerleader when it comes to building up the courage to let go of the things you can’t change. While it’s good to have a support system, only you will be in your own head 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with affirmations that can help you keep going through life, even when the stress is getting to be too much.
Learn healthy affirmations to tell yourself so that you can keep going throughout the day. “I can only control myself”, and “I have the strength to handle anything,” are just a few healthy, positive affirmations that you can tell yourself when you begin to worry over the things you can’t change in your life.
But how can positive healthy affirmations help?
According to certified life coach and hypnotherapist Kelly Rudolph, “The reason we feel better when speaking these positive thoughts as verbal statements is because the positive energy of good thoughts and pictures in our mind raises our vibrational frequency and causes chemical changes in our body that tell us we’re happy.”
Learning to let go and accept the things you can’t change is a process that everyone has to go through at least once in their life. It may feel difficult or scary, but the truth is, it’s one of the best things that you can do for your mental and emotional health. Once you have that courage inside of you, you’ll be able to move through life with a lot less worry and fear of all of the things in life that you can’t control.