By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Taking control of your life is a choice, not an accident.
Do you ever feel that your life has gotten out of control? Would you like to find a way to get some of that control back? Here are some principles you need to apply to your life to get it back in your control. Some of these are easy, you just make the decision and then do it. Others are skills you need to learn and practice until they become automatic. Either way here are my tips for getting your life back in control.
Learn when to take advice.
When things are going out of control it can be hard to admit that you have lost it and need help. The first step in getting your life under control may be looking for and accepting the need to get some good sound advice.
This does not mean letting your family or friends tell you what to do. Have money problems, get financial advice. Have legal problems, get legal advice. Having career problems talk, with someone who has worked in your field for a while and who can offer you some sound advice.
If you are in recovery you might well find that your sponsor or mentor can share with you some personal experiences and a different viewpoint. A support or 12 step group cumulatively can offer you a better perspective than a single individual.
Being able to recognize when you need the advice of experts and experienced people and then using that advice is a practice that can help you get where you are going in life.
Decide when to steer your own course.
As much as you need to be able to accept needed advice there are times when you need to steer your own course. Don’t try to live your life headed to someone else’s dream. The job that was right for a family member may not be a good fit for you.
Spend some time getting clear about what your values are and then set some goals. If you let others be in control of your life you end up where they would go not where you wanted to be.
Learn to like yourself.
If you do not like yourself you make it hard for others to like you. We teach others how to treat us. You need to be your own best supporter and friend. Caring about you is not being selfish. It is being the captain of your own life.
Insecure adults who do not like the person they have become, contribute to the development of children who do not feel good about themselves and have low self-esteem.
You can’t please everyone – please yourself.
Trying too hard to please everyone leaves no one happy, especially you. Think carefully about what you want from life. Make sure you are not living someone else’s life. Do not be influenced by passing fads and fancies which come and go. Living well is timeless.
Doing what everyone else is doing creates a poor copy of others. Be yourself, be unique and you will create a life that you can be proud of.
Other people’s opinions of you matter very little.
You know in your heart if you are living your life. Do not be easily swayed by others. It is very reasonable to consider other people’s opinions but the final decision is yours. Do the thing you feel is right not the popular or expedient thing.
Learn when to say no.
One sure sign of an out of control life is someone who can’t say no. You need to decline offers and invitations that are not good for you. You should not be doing things only to please others. If you have to go along with things that make you uncomfortable for others to like you they are users, not friends.
Learn when to say yes.
Don’t let fear and reticence keep you from doing things that might do you some good. Many older people have reported that their great regrets in life were not the things they did but the things that they passed on that they now wish they had tried.
Do not let fear, timidity or the opinions of the crowd keep you from the things that may bring joy to your life.
Keep your self-talk positive.
Negative self-talk creates a negative life. Don’t do that to yourself. Use positive self-talk. A good morning affirmation can set the whole day off on the right course. Tell yourself you can, you will, and that you deserve a good life and see what you create.
Get clear on your values.
There are lots of things you will be tempted to do. Ask yourself how this relates to your values. Do not do things that are objectionable to you just for the approval of those around you. Values determine how you will take this trip we call life.
Set some goals. Don’t be a victim.
Without goals, your life will wander aimlessly. Decide where you want to go, today and in the distant future. When it is done what do you want your life to be about? Set big goals then break them up into smaller sub-goals. Take the little steps each and every day and you will find you have traveled a long way in the right direction.
Be OK with disagreement.
You do not need everyone to agree with you. Accept that not everyone will agree with you. You do not need the agreement of the crowd to be good with yourself. The more you stand for something, the more you accomplish, the more people will criticize you and disagree. Great people follow their own vision despite others urging them to take the easy path where no one criticizes.
Accept yourself warts and all.
Do not pretend to be more than you are. Accept yourself. However, you are is just fine. After accepting yourself think about those improvement opportunities. How you are is fine but how would you like to improve? Self-acceptance is the starting place on the path to being the best you can be.
If you set your sights low you end up in the dirt. Set high sites and even if you do not reach the moon you may well wind up in the sky.
Stop trying to be perfect and please everyone.
There are no perfect people. You cannot please everyone. Be the best you there is and do the best you can. Accept how you are and you will discover that you, not someone else, is in control of your destiny.
Get the bad, negative stuff, out of your life.
If you are controlled by addictions, bad habits or negativity get that self-limiting stuff out of your life. Addictions can take over control of your life. You won’t get back in control until you clear the negative influences out.
When will you get your life back under your control?
You may want to check out the other counselorssoapbox.com self-help posts.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.