Tiny Wisdom: When Things Feel out of Control

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll

“I can’t wait to leave LA. Seriously, we should consider moving within a year.”

I said this to my boyfriend as we were sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic a few streets away from our apartment, anticipating at least 10 more minutes of chaos. All around us, drivers were weaving in and out of lanes, honking at each other, and, in some cases, hurling swears at each other. Despite just meditating, I felt agitated.

Since we moved here just recently so my boyfriend can pursue film, moving isn’t the smartest option. And truthfully, I don’t want to move. I said it because I felt stuck, and in that moment, professing my desire to leave felt like a proactive alternative to simply sitting with that out-of-control feeling.

Suddenly I realized that this was good practice, because I will feel out of control in far more troubling situations many times in my life. We all will.

We may have to wait to find out if we’ll lose our homes, or our jobs, or our health, or people we love. Or we may lose those things and wonder how we can go on, knowing we’re not sure how things will turn out. We may have to watch people we love struggling, knowing we have no clue how to help, or if we even can.

It’s inevitable that we’ll feel out of control in life, over and over again. The good news is that we can always control how we respond to our circumstances, and we can practice this skill a little every day if we’re willing to breathe through uncomfortable feelings.

Today if you find yourself scrambling for control–over your time, your circumstances, or the outcome of your efforts–take a deep breath. Then remember: It’s far more productive to learn through this moment than it is to resist it.

*Email subscribers: This was the post from Thursday, but due to an error on my part, it didn’t make it into the email. Photo by fakelvis

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She started the site after struggling with depression, bulimia, c-PTSD, and toxic shame so she could recycle her former pain into something useful and inspire others do the same. She recently created the Breaking Barriers to Self-Care eCourse to help people overcome internal blocks to meeting their needs—so they can feel their best, be their best, and live their best possible life. If you’re ready to start thriving instead of merely surviving, you can learn more and get instant access here.

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