What happens when we give power, control, or decision-making to someone else or another external source other than ourselves?
We may want someone to make the hard decisions for us and wait for things to implode. Or, we may become enraged, defeated, and hyper-focused on an undesirable circumstance or someone who does something that we don't like.
This leaves us disempowered and focused on things that are out of our control. In effect, we are less focused on problem-solving and finding solutions.
In psychology, we call this an external locus of control - our happiness or success depends on some other reality, circumstance, entity, or person (barring trauma and other factors that require our attention).
How do we know when we are focused on the wrong things?
- When we are focused on controlling the uncontrollable - giving energy, resources, and power to something else instead of focusing on what we have control over.
This sets us up for anger, anxiety, depression, and failure. All of these are reasonable responses to threat, disappointment, and pain. But do we need to sit with it, fight on the hill, or let it go and find other alternatives?
Ideally, we want to accept the reality and context of what is and place our focus on what we do have control of. Only you know what that is.
Check out this worksheet and great resources from The Therapist Aid
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