How do we stay hopeful when so much is out of our control?

 

I’m a whole lot of “love and light” but also sprinkled in there is “well, that’s life let’s make a plan.” The “both/and” parts of me require thinking that elevates the space, with grounded practical plan-making because well…..this is real life. It’s gritty. It’s not easy. It’s not easy for anyone. 

 

I also think going into the mud is a necessary part of our growth. It’s good to feel shitty sometimes. It’s the necessary resistance we need to change our actions and behaviours. It’s the necessary resistance we need to strengthen ourselves. 

 

But when you start to feel angry, anxious, depressed or hopeless for long periods of time, it’s because you believe that everything is out of your control. When you believe that everything is out of your control you will start to move and think without discernment. You will be on autopilot.  Someone on autopilot will struggle to find joy, creativity and productivity.

 

When we hit the mud here, we need to change our focus. We need to focus on what we can control and notice what we’re taking responsibility for that actually is beyond our capabilities.

 

And when I say that I don’t mean stop trying to change the world! Keep going please. I just mean let’s get practical about the uphill battle we’re choosing. For example, with reflection I found that I was taking responsibility for stopping the new world order and I wanted to help change politics in multiple nations. How was I taking responsibility for this? I was simply thinking about these big and all encompassing problems way too much. It was eating me alive. This is our friend the ego talking here. This is clearly an impossible mountain to climb and was only leading to stress, anxiety and burnout.

 

Eating my humble sandwich, putting my ego aside and connecting with wise peers helped me find tangible, small and powerful things I could control. Conversations I could influence, projects to do, and aligned actions and thoughts that would help bring me back to life again. Let’s spark your hope again too. 

 

Focus on what you can control

 

There are many things under your control:

 

Your words

Your actions

Your Health

Your mental health

Your relationships

Your opinions

Your beliefs

Who you spend time with

What you watch

What you read

How you treat others

 

Get clear on what you can control. Get really clear on these things.
Then practice doing them. Get clear on what you can influence. Get clear on where you can serve. You can help yourself AND help the causes you are passionate about. Be mindful about where you’re expending your energy and you will remain powerful. 

 

Stay in the now. 

Practice boundaries and discernment because your energy is precious. Focus on what’s real and what’s happening RIGHT NOW. Accept today’s reality and let go of tomorrow’s. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and you don’t live there anyways. You live here. In the now. No need to worry about the problems of the future with such intensity, we need you here now. There are things to do in the present moment.  

 

Get to know yourself well.

Get to know how your brain works. Get to know your triggers and distractions. Every thought and feeling you have may not be worth your attention. Create your own personal boundaries arounds language, attention, habits and actions and get clear on what you can control to develop self regulation.

With a little practice, you’ll experience the feeling of achievement and peace again.

 

Embrace uncertainty.

This is one of those real life things that you cannot escape. Uncertainty is inevitable. It’s real and it will always be there. Just because we don’t know what will happen, doesn’t mean that something bad will happen. Nothing in life is certain, so we might as well get comfortable with it. 

Uncertainty isn’t the enemy. 

Lack of focus is.

 

Focus

Who do you need to become in order to handle this situation? Not who you are being right now. Who do you need to become?

How do you need to treat yourself? What are your personal boundaries?

Where are your skills best utilised right now? What are your gifts?

What is calling you right now? 

Take your focus off of the distant future and into the now. Put it on the person that you need to become to handle this situation…..and the next. 

 

Life is gritty, but so you are you. 

You can handle the world, you can gently shake the world. 

You can handle this situation and the next. 

 

With grace and gratitude,

Karla Joy Treadway

 

P.S. The picture here is of my dear little baby hanna from when we lived in Nicaragua. Dreaming of more beautiful simple times like these.