How to Take Back Your Control of Your Life

Darryl Bachmeier
Jun 27, 2019

In the movie ‘Yes Man’, Carl was taken aback by the painful experience of divorcing his wife that he developed a negative outlook on life to cope. To help, a friend brings him to a motivational seminar that encourages participants to say “Yes!” in every opportunity.

After the which, things took their turn in Carl’s life. When he said “Yes”, even though reluctant at first, he felt “happier”. Otherwise, saying “No” brings misfortune. The movie ends when Carl realized there’s no supernatural phenomena happening to him. He does have control over his choices and he can opt to be happy regardless of the circumstance.

Many of us have become like Carl, who has taken one negative event to alter our outlook in life. At worst, we develop stress and anxiety that impair our health and rob us of the quality of life we deserve. Some of us have even taken a sequence of small misfortunes to shape our views, corrupting us of what could have been an opportunity to be hopeful and persistent.

Rick Warren, in his book ‘Purpose Driven Life’, shares about how knowing your identity and purpose will drive how you will live your life. Therefore, getting back on track means gaining the freedom to pursue your passions and living a meaningful life again.

Taking control back in our lives constitutes a lot of mental conditioning, motivation, empowerment, and will power to do. It will also help to have faith that you’re going to be handed back the happiness and freedom you used to before that turning point because you deserve it.

The journey to getting back the life you used to live before that life-altering event, or even to a better one, might not be easy but it is all worth it. Remember that you are in for an overhaul so expect some painful pruning or hammering along the way. It takes discipline and a lot of self-love to rediscover yourself and regain back your control over it.

Learn the art of saying “No”

I’ve opened this article by sharing snippets of the movie “Yes Man”. While its focus is on saying “Yes” and how liberating it is to be positive, the core theme of the movie is about taking control - saying “No” included.

In knowing when to agree or to refuse a request or a situation, you acknowledge your strengths and you set clear boundaries in your life. Sometimes, the trouble with constantly saying yes that people were accustomed to it that they don’t expect anything less from you anymore. And it will come a time that you eventually lost control of your own will that it becomes harder for you to say no anymore.

When you are in control, your “No” becomes set boundaries for yourself and others. This limits their control over what you want to do and what will make you happy and fulfilled. The word “No” may have negative associations about it but it’s incompletely true. Rather, it is only a way to set boundaries and keep us from harm.

Set aside “Me” time

More often than not, we lose control of our lives after a major setback because we have given so much of our time and attention to that thing we’ve lost. Therefore in the process of losing that thing, we lost ourselves, too.

To regain control back in your life, you have to make yourself your priority. Even if you have a great support system surrounding you and taking care of you, nobody could do the job better than you. After all, you know what makes you happy or what excites or stimulates you.

Yet you’ll say, “I don’t know what makes me happy anymore”. This is the perfect opportunity to try new things! Gaining back your control over life doesn’t necessarily mean going back to your old self. You may live a different life after and it is perfectly fine as long as you do things that bring meaning and directs your purpose.

Start with simple things like extra-long showers, eating breakfast, or journaling. You may also want to make a bucket list of things you want to try and start ticking them off right away. Just be realistic about your activities so you won’t be frustrated.

The purpose of doing things for yourself is prioritizing your well-being first - you get to enjoy your energy, time, and money and not just getting what’s left at the end of the day.

Embrace the pain

In life, challenges and hardships are inevitable and sometimes, beyond our control. What we can control, however, is how we face them.

I’m not talking about developing a negative mindset just to cope, but having a mind prepared for pain as being part of life. Embracing pain helps you understand the feeling so that your mind will store the triggers and can signal you in the future should it happens again.

Gaining a better appreciation of life happens after overcoming a challenge. Embracing pain helps us become aware that it is real and we can control what it does to us.

As the song goes, “And you bleed just to know you’re alive”. Emotions are part of being human and it brings the best and worst in us. When we understand our emotional triggers, we can now acknowledge what came from us and the things that are beyond our control.

Final Thoughts

Taking the control back to you takes time. For you to maximize your learnings, you have to embrace the pain as it is and squeeze every ounce of lessons before letting it go. To start gaining back control in your life, you must set the boundaries for yourself and the people around you. Doing so helps you feel freer to do the things that inspire, excites, and motivates you.

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