Stuck in the past? Worried about the future? Not in your control. What to do? Live now and read on.
So this morning the WordPress Daily prompted asked “Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?” Inspired this post.
The Just Do It people seem to think we control all; consider Oprah, Dr. Phil, and all the other happiness, take charge of your life gurus.
Me? I believe in Karma, God, the Force, free falls, crash landings, accidents and randomness.
I also believe in what Victor Frankl said after surviving the death of his family and his own years as a Nazi prisoner in their death camps, ““Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
But I also gave up a long time ago thinking I controlled all, that like a good father there was a God listening to all my prayers and arranging my destiny. I made peace with that painful fact by deciding the exchange was the freedom to be me.
Not that I am an atheist or even an agnostic. Perhaps what best describes my religious belief is hope that there is a power of love working for the greater good of all and the all means not each person’s individual’s life and specific destiny.
As many of you know I converted to Judaism after my marriage. Two things influenced me. I did not want to be the one to end 5000 years of a personal connection to the Jewish tribe. I also has some serious quarrel with the Christian doctrine of salvation which seemed divisive to me by dividing people into the saved and the damned. Judaism does not.
Jesus is reported as saying in Matthew 7:16-19 KJV: ” Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
That is the heart of Jewish theology. Jesus’ Golden Rule is a rephrasing of Rabbi Hillel’s (who died when Jesus was 10 years old) response when asked to sum up Jewish theology in one sentence:””That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn”.
Neither of my parents were religious. When in the turmoil of my teen years I joined the Presbyterian church, my father joked that the church building would fall in on him when he came to witness my baptism. My mother once protested a “Hell and Damnation” sermon about smoking by lighting up in front of the preacher. Both, however, believed in not judging people and being kind. Which probably explains why I felt like I had come home when I converted.
I must also note that my conversion only upset my mother, because she thought I no longer believed in Jesus; she was comforted when I said, “I believe he was a good Jew rebelling against some not so good Jews as well as the Roman Empire.”
We all need to make some sense of why things happen the way they do. This is what Frankl dubbed meaning making and which is seen as what we all do when faced with traumatic events. We retain, reaffirm, revise, or replace existing beliefs in order to find comfort. Meaning making is a way of seeking some control for if we can explain what happens we can better deal with it.
Religions are powerful ways of making meaning. Sadly, religions often become tools of those who are more interested in hate, divisiveness and control, than the Golden Rule. Every religious person show work to rid theirs of hate theology and every atheist should not throw out the good with the bad.
Emotional Fitness Training TIPS
Emotional Fitness Tip One: Stop thinking your can control all that happens. There is definitely a force or other forces either in charge or possibly just letting things happen as they may, but who knows?
As Robert Frost once said “We sit in a circle and suppose, the secret sits in the middle and knows.”
Thinking you control or should control what is not in your power creates stress, erodes your emotional fitness, and sets up barriers to what is good in life.
That does not mean you lack control; it also means you have to be realistic about what you control and do not control.
It also means you need to keep control of thinking your beliefs contain the truth and nothing but the truth particularly if they spread hate and not love or divide rather than until people.
Emotional Fitness Tip Two: Get clear on what you do not control. The Mother nature and other people are the big two.
Emotional Fitness Tip Three: Get clear on why or how control motivates you. William Glasser founder of reality therapy say in his book Control Theory: notes four reasons we seek control:
- To keep anger under control
- To get others to help us out
- To excuse our unwillingness to do something more effective
- To gain powerful control
Emotional Fitness Tip Four: Reduce the power of trying to control by replacing the word control with the word influence
Emotional Fitness Tip Five: Strengthen your Emotional Fitness skills; these three help you let go: Accepting Imperfection, Sloganeering, and Practicing Forgiveness. Here’s a Poster Coach about Sloganeering.
Emotional Fitness Tip Six: Remember what matters. Think about buying my eBook Know Your Mission So You Can Reach You Can Reach Your Goals. It deals with how to make what matters part of your life; more valueable than a latte and less expensive.
Sloganeering is a great emotional fitness tool for children of all ages. Use them when correcting children and have different ones for different occasions. My mother’s favorites were;
- Suck it up butter cup.
- Nothing ventured nothing gained.
- Play for fun, then you never lose.
- Look and wonder.
- Not your choice, not what you control.
Two of my father”s
- Life revenges, you don’t need to.
- If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
- Be the kind of person you want to know.
- Think hard before acting on anger.
Longer than I suggest, but they did shape my life and beliefs.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO
Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.
OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.