By Jay Hill
One of the great joys in life is the unexpected. Sometimes people and opportunities come our way and it’s up to us to make the most of them. However, to really get the most from life and live on your own terms, it’s important to consciously take control of your destiny. There is no feeling so satisfying as knowing that you have chosen your own path in life and are living in accordance with your values.
How, exactly, should you start learning to steer your own course? Here are 3 things you need to give up immediately if you want to regain control:
1. Give Up Relying On Someone Else’s Love
When you rely on other people to love and approve of you in order to feel good, you are handing over your power. In effect, you are telling yourself that your own love and self-validation isn’t sufficient, and you need the affection of others to feel ‘OK.’ This is not living from a position of self-control. When you stop depending on someone else’s approval, you are taking back your personal autonomy and giving yourself the ability to dictate whether or not you are an ‘OK’ person. (Hint: You are totally okay, regardless of whatever anyone else thinks.)
When you let go of your dependency on someone else, it empowers you to think about what you want from life and from your relationships. When you know that you are just fine on your own, you are firmly in control. You put yourself in the position to choose who and what you add to your life, secure in the knowledge that you always have your self-love to sustain you.
2. Give Up Your Unrealistic Expectations
Are you a workaholic who holds yourself to impossibly high standards? Perhaps you strive to be the very best at everything you do? Do you have daydreams or fantasies in which you magically succeed at everything you attempt? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your skills and learn new things. Challenging yourself can add a great deal of excitement and enjoyment to your life. However, holding yourself to unhealthily high standards is an example of rigid, out-of-control thinking. You start telling yourself things like, “If I cannot be the best at this, there’s no point in trying,” and, “If I don’t pick up this skill quickly, I shouldn’t even bother.”
These kinds of thoughts are not going to help you feel in control of your life. Instead, you will feel at the mercy of your perfectionist nature. Try to appreciate the experience of trying new activities and skills regardless of whether you excel at them or not.
3. Give Up Blaming Yourself For What You’ve Done Wrong
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a simple fact. Even the people you admire most have screwed up many times over the course of their lives. In order to make progress in life, you must take risks, and with risk comes the possibility of failure. Unfortunately, it’s easy to ruminate on what went wrong, and what you should or could have done differently. If you want to regain control over your life and be able to look forward to the future with a positive outlook, you must stop beating yourself up for past mistakes. Ask yourself what you can learn from the past, and then make a conscious effort to look to the future.
It’s not easy to take control of your life, that’s why so many of us are stuck in the same old patterns of co-dependency, unrealistic self-expectations, and pointless regret. However, making a conscious decision to live in a new way is the first step to regaining a sense of self-value and self-mastery.