Read This When Life Feels Uncontrolable

Here are five things to focus on and remember.

Megan Minutillo

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Photo by Pedro Durigan on Unsplash

If you turn on the news, if you turn into your social media feeds, if you are engaging with the world around you — it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to feel as if you have no control over what’s happening outside of your own home. It’s easy to feel as if you have no control, period, and to be swept up in the tragedy and horror and negativity that can permeate so much of the media we consume.

And yet, while you will never be able to control everything that happens in the world, there are still plenty of things within your control.

Here are five things that are within your grasp:

  1. You can control the words that slip from your fingertips or your lips. Those words can be full of anger, of hate, of sadness, of love, of hope — of something else entirely. But you get to choose them. You get to speak or stay silent, and you get to listen and learn. You do not get to decide how other people navigate themselves and the words they choose, but you get to choose your own.
  2. You can control how you react to situations. You can scream, you can yell, you can throw a temper tantrum. You can also excuse yourself, so you don’t lash out at others. You can also find a way to channel your energy into something that helps you. Sometimes that channels your feelings in a way that is beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
  3. You get to control what time you go to bed at night. You get to control what time you walk up in the morning. You get to control what food you put in your body or how much you move throughout the day. You get to choose how much water you drink, and the same goes for coffee and wine. You get to control the media you consume — the news, the art, the television, the online content, the words of others.
  4. You get to control how you protect your peace. Boundaries are not a bad thing — and you’re the one who gets to set them. You can say “no” to that happy hour or that coffee date, or that third date. You can say “no” to the family outing that you don’t have the energy for, or the party that your best friends are throwing, or the holiday party at work. You are the keeper of your own time and the protector of your own peace — and if you don’t protect it, nobody else will honor it, either.
  5. You get to control how you open your heart and the frequency in which you give your love. Nobody can make you love another human. Nobody can make you choose words of love and actions of love. Nobody can make you let love into every corner of your heart and every fiber of your being. You get to decide whether or not you choose to love or choose to hate. You get to choose how you treat the people you come across, the ones who stay in your life forever, and the ones who are there for a brief moment in time.

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Megan Minutillo

Essayist, poet, and theatre producer. I write stories about self-awareness, IVF, and finding your footing in life’s messy moments. Instagram: @meganminutillo.