Some time ago, I postulated that the locus of control for our lives is internal.
That might sound high fallutin’ and all, but it’s pretty simple; my take was that as long as we put control over what happens to us “out there” rather than squarely within, nothing will ever change. We will remain where we are in our development.
I state that without judgment, just pointing out a fact.
For example, it may be true that Aunt Margaret is pushing the deep-dish lasagna she made “just for you” like a pasta addict enabler. Equally true is she gets offended when you turn it down, and saying “no” to her home cooking causes a family rift. It might also be accurate that your husband is unsupportive when he sits next to you munching obliviously away on your favorite flavor of potato chips, while you’re stuck in a funk with celery sticks and carrots. Yes, you’ve told him a thousand times that you’d like him to not do that, and yes, you’re right, he doesn’t seem to care.
However… (don’t you just hate that word sometimes?) the decision about whether or not to succumb to temptation or pressure – as difficult as it might be – still lies within; nowhere else. In effect, it lives within. As long as we say things like, “She made me…” or “I had no choice…” or “It was too hard…” we are committing to stay put.
I’ve seen Aunt Margaret when she’s ticked off and I don’t blame anyone for avoiding a Hatfield-McCoy blow out. But, whether we’re trying to lose weight, increase our income, or just plain be happier; as long as we allow others to determine our actions, they’re controlling us. It’s understandable that sometimes the “social price” we have to pay to follow our path doesn’t justify the return. Again, I’m not placing value; been there, done that; I’m just analyzing.
So what prompted this rehash of a previous topic?
I’ll come clean. I caught myself giving control to an inanimate object last week.
For quite some time, I was on a tear; dropping pounds faster than a bear market at the London Stock Exchange. (Oh, c’mon, that was clever; stop groaning.) Yet, since the holidays — and yes I know they were three months ago — my mojo has lost its caffeination. As I stared at the red LED on the Scale from Hell, I frustratingly said to myself, “What gives? Why isn’t my weight coming down faster?”
In that moment I realized what I said. If you didn’t catch it, read the sentence again… “Why isn’t my weight coming down faster?”
“My weight” is not a being; it doesn’t live.
Therefore, it has no control over what it does; it is merely a reflection of actions I have taken. If I really want to get out in the philosophical weeds, the scale does not even reveal what I weigh; it measures the effectiveness of decisions I have taken with the goal of shedding a few pounds.
In either case, it’s all about me, nothing else.
I hope that’s clear; but let me take it deeper. Have you ever caught yourself saying something like, “My diet’s not working?” Okay, maybe, losing weight is not your thing; but I’ll bet you’ve uttered something like, “Nothing’s going right” or even, “This sucks.” Each statement might be true. However what’s certainly true is that as long as we view our diet — or any event — as something with its own direction, we are leaves in a forceful river; pulled along with no choice of control.
“The diet” might not be working – yet I can change how I react to that. “Nothing” might be going as planned – yet I can adjust how I react. Outcomes might — or might not — be what we hope; but we control how we react.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He will be conducting a upbeat, playful seminar in Humboldt County on April 5, 2014 to help you improve you habits you don’t like about yourself. Find out more and sign up here.