WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL VERSUS WHAT YOU CAN’T:
1. Other people.
You can’t control what other people say or do. You can’t control how people treat you, what they believe in, or how much they believe in you. You can’t force anyone to reciprocate your feelings or your effort. You can’t force people to love you, dedicate their time, or accept who you authentically are. You can’t make people who are committed to maintaing a narrow set of beliefs understand your pain, validate your feelings, or acknowledge your experiences.
But you can control how you respond to other people and how you treat yourself. You can choose to internalize other people’s judgements and allow their opinions to become your truth. Or you can decide that their beliefs aren’t a reflection on you and don’t have to discount your worth. No matter how people treat you, you can choose to treat yourself with compassion and kindness. No matter how many people reject and disapprove of you, you can choose to celebrate yourself and embrace who you are. No matter who doubts you and denies your capability, you can choose to believe in yourself.
You can’t control which family you’re born into. You can’t change who your parents are or how they show their love. You can’t control how they were brought up and how it affected the way they brought up you. You can’t change the fact sometimes your family is embarrassing or overbearing or insensitive. You can’t forget the hurtful things they might have said or the impact it had on your self-esteem. You cant change the fact that your family will never be perfect and that the people in it will never be perfect people.
But you can learn to appreciate your family for what they are able to give you. You can recognize that no one is perfect and that just because your family isn’t able to love you in the way you want or need, doesn’t mean they aren’t loving you in the only way they know how or are capable of. You can hold onto anger and resentment from the past and let it consume and debilitate you, or you can forgive and make peace — not for them, but for you. You can stay silent and wait for your family to guess what you need, or you can use your voice and ask for what you need. If your family isn’t able to be there for you in the way you need, you can create your own family of friends.You can set limits and boundaries, and if they aren’t acknowledged or respected, you can choose to love your family from a distance or to let them go.
3. Body Image.
You can’t change the body you were born with. You can adjust your weight, shape your body through exercise, or use surgery and cosmetics to alter your appearance, but you can’t change your genetics. You can’t control your height, or the weight at which your body naturally likes to be at. You can’t control the way your body metabolizes food or where your body carries the majority of its weight. You can’t change your ethnicity, your bone structure, or your genetic predisposition to certain physical characteristics and health conditions. You can’t control the fact that you live in a thin obsessed culture that perpetuates unhealthy and unachievable standards of beauty.
But you can change the way you see yourself and how you treat your body. You can choose to make comparisons about the way you look and focus on all the things you’re lacking, or you can choose to embrace the body you have and celebrate what makes you different. You can choose to beat yourself up for not looking a certain way. You can torture yourself with restrictive diets and abusive exercise, or you can choose to be kind to your body and honor it’s needs.You can focus on the size of your body and allow your weight to determine your worth, or you can let go of the number on the scale and focus on what your body allows you to do and how it helps you to participate in life. You can allow society’s definition of beauty to make you feel inadequate, or you can decide to create your own definition.
4. The past.
You can’t go back in time and change what’s happened. You can’t undo your mistakes and bad decisions. You can’t take back the hurtful things you may have said or done, and you can’t make the people you hurt forget. You can’t erase your struggles or painful experiences. You can’t reverse the effects they had on your self-esteem or alter the consequences they implemented on your life.
But you can start today and create a new present. You can choose to see your bad decisions as proof of failure and inadequacy, or you can choose to see your mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth. You can use your pain as a reason to give up, or you can use it strengthen you and push you forward. You can beat yourself and put yourself down, or you can treat yourself with compassion and forgiveness. You can continue to hold onto your shame and regret and allow it to stifle your growth and happiness, or you can make peace and let the pain go. You can be a victim of your past, or you can be a creator of your present and future.
***No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you’ve been through, you always have the power to choose your outlook on life.
Every day, you get to choose the attitude you will adopt and how you treat yourself. Each moment, you get to decide which thoughts you will accept as your truth and which you will let go of. When you find yourself feeling lost and helpless and hopeless, remind yourself of this power. Remind yourself that the power to heal and find happiness lies within you and those choices.