I’d like to note that this post has nothing to do with the lotus flower. Except perhaps that I practiced yoga today on my freshly designated “Yoga Thursdays.” But even associating yoga with the lotus flower is a stretch on my part. Apologies.
Now to the real topic of the hour…control. We need it, crave it, are lost without it, need everything in perfect order, are endlessly addicted. We attempt to control our surroundings, our stuff, our friends, our lives, and the list goes on infinitum. Some say the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result.” I would like to create a secondary definition: “attempting to control events and objects that are simply outside of our control.”
My lovely hairdresser and great friend (check out Fancy Nancy’s if you haven’t yet!) asked me yesterday to identify my greatest lesson from Hawaii. I had an answer immediately…I have been preparing for this question.
When I was away in September, I met so many incredible, unique, and insightful people. There were so many winners. However, there was one person who tended to be more frequently on the negative side. He embodied the definition of pessimist and all that goes along with it. Never was there a good day, and his life was always the worst, no matter what anyone else was going through. I learned to appreciate him for all of his quirky qualities, but at times his negativity affected me.
It affected me, and I let it bother me. I started to resent him. If there were a way to avoid him, I would opt for that path.
After some time, I sought the advice of a new, dear friend. I asked him how he dealt with this kind of behavior and influence, and being wise beyond his 25 years, he taught me about control. Control, he instructed, is limited to ourselves–our actions and our feelings. We cannot affect the actions of others or how others feel. We can only look within. He said that no matter what happens in our environment, we get to choose how we interpret and feel about it. My friend told me that though negativity may be filling the air around him, he chooses happiness. He chooses to feel good because it is within his control.
At first I looked at him with big eyes and said something like “how in the world am I supposed to do that?” But he was someone I trusted and looked up to, so I attempted to emulate his actions. I decided that I was in Hawaii, and there was no fricken way I was going to allow anyone else’s feelings affect my own.
I did it. I stood up for myself and chose to enjoy my stay in the drop-dead-gorgeous islands. Now this is something that comes into my life every day. Instead of opting for sadness, anger, guilt, or otherwise, I more often than not choose happiness. Life is so precious, and I plan to not waste another second in a feeling I do not want to be in. But I am human, and emotions will flow. So, at least not for long.