The following is an excerpt from our “Tougher Together: Breakthrough” Podcast with Rebeccah Silence.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t control or predict your future. You can be as prepared as possible, even take the necessary steps to avoid common pitfalls, but in the end – life happens. So, what do you do when you get blindsided? This is exactly what we’re going to talk about in this blog post.
It’s simply an illusion that you can control your circumstances or predict your future and one of the hardest parts of life is learning to let go of that illusion. Giving up control can be scary and somewhat unnerving. When you’re controlling things, you feel a sense of safety and accomplishment, however false it may be; but there are just certain things in life that no one can do anything about. There’s nothing you can say. Nothing that anyone could do to stop the train of life from going where it’s going.
A great example in my own life of a time when I got blindsided was when I got a devastating cancer diagnosis. I was thirty-four years old, pregnant with my second baby and completely shocked by this news. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on my life, my family, and my health. I thought I had done a really good job of mastering the chaos, trying to get ahead of obstacles, mitigate conflict and prevent disaster from happening. But none of that training, none of that control mattered in the face of this diagnosis.
Fear is like a cancer, and it drives the need to control. This fear-driven needs to control life can turn into a form of emotional cancer because it literally becomes like a job. We can’t beat it. There is no winning at trying to control or predict life and there’s especially no winning in trying to control your life or other people’s lives. It’s a guaranteed failure when you try to be responsible for anything other than your emotional experience.
You can only control your own emotional experience.
That’s it. And what I mean by that is you can only control who you are and what your response will be in any given moment. Are you paying attention to your thoughts and your words? Are you being gentle with and nurturing your emotions? Or are you just racing along in turbo gear trying to steamroll your way through life?
Sometimes there’s no one to blame, no one to be held responsible for the things that happened to you, sometimes they just happen. Maybe you’ve been given a difficult diagnosis like me or maybe you’ve experienced a heartbreak or painful loss. Maybe you’re still reeling from a tragedy or some crisis that you didn’t see coming. Being blindsided doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
A wake-up call
Being blindsided can be a wakeup call to new opportunities if you let it. Sometimes it’s the catalyst that thrusts you into new growth. It’s so easy to beat yourselves up or bury your head in the sand, most times no one would blame your for wanting to quit; but that just leaves you feeling stuck and helpless. Don’t lose sight of the strength inside of yourselves. Being blindsided is not a punishment. It’s not a sign that you’re weak or unprepared. But it is an opportunity to level up who you are and to connect to a higher, more inspired version of yourself. That tougher part inside you, the one that might not have been given much attention yet.
What’s left if you give up control?
When I was processing my cancer diagnosis, I decided that I’d better up my game by paying attention to what I was doing with my emotions, with my thoughts, with the way I was speaking to myself and others. I knew I couldn’t control this situation, but I could control how well I conducted myself each moment.
When you give up control driven by fear, all you have to hold on to is the power to choose how you’re going to live each moment of every day. You get to control who you’re going to be and how you’re going to face whatever life throws at you. You can’t always make life turn out the way you think it should. You can’t make other people act the way you think they should act. But what you can do is control how connected you are to yourselves, how connected you are to other people, and how well you’re communicating about what’s happening. That’s what you have control over.
Life will inevitably blindside you, no matter how much you try to prepare yourself or avoid the surprises. But there’s always more life to live.