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Controlling What We Can Control

Updated: May 12, 2022

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a cycle of circumstances where you feel like you’re losing control? The bills are piling up quicker than the money in your bank account even though you are working two jobs and managing a home. You are in serious need of some quality family time but can’t travel to see family due to current health and safety restrictions. Even worse, there is a global pandemic that appears to only be getting worse, so you’re unable to make plans for… anything really.

So what is there to do about all of this? How does one cope and flourish in these difficult situations?

If you are religious, you will likely give it all to the higher power. Let go and let God. Religion and spirituality have been proven to provide various aspects for positive coping. They may encourage prayer, meditation, forgiveness, etc. Studies show that coping may be improved when religious and spiritual coping mechanisms are combined with other forms of coping, so here is an idea…

There is a tool called a responsibility pie. No, you can’t eat it, but you can use it to make you feel better about your situations and reveal aspects that you can realistically control. First, grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. If you want, you can get creative and use colored pencils or markers.

Next, draw a big circle on the paper. Now, you brainstorm. Think of everything other than yourself that impacts your situation: people, situations, money, the way the planets are aligning, whatever.

Then, determine the percentage of responsibility each aspect holds in regards to your problem and chart it within the circle. So, if COVID-19 is the cause for 25% of your problems, it should have a 25% slice of the pie. After you have charted everything, whatever is left over is the percentage of the situation that you hold yourself responsible for.

You may be surprised at the numbers!

If you really have no control over your situation, challenge yourself to control your response to the situation. This takes the power away from the hardships and puts it all in your hands. You’ve got this!

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