And when we feel our position is even in the slightest way threatened, we begin to doubt others' intentions. We look suspiciously at others for clues as to their motives. Everything takes on a meaning separate from what appears at face value.
The longer I live, the more I'm beginning to realize that control is a complete illusion.
We have no more control over our lives or our relationships or our jobs than we do the sun rising in the sky each day.
And yet we fret, we ponder, we scheme.
Of course, I'm talking big picture, here. Not the day to day stuff of getting up on time for work, being present for your loved ones, or making deliberate attempts to participate in life by taking on obligations and fulfilling them.
I'm talking more about the things in life that we worry about that we can't really effect.
We can't control whether or not a big corporation (or a small company for that matter) is going to decide to lay us off. Sometimes, we're just not the right fit for the job they have despite our talents. Sometimes the job changes and we just don't have the skills to take the company to the next level. That's just a part of life. And certainly, we can't control whether or not we hit the genetic lottery and get a disease like cancer or develop a rare allergic reaction to a medicine intended to cure us. Some people die needlessly in random accidents -- they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes friends fall out of touch, couples drift apart, people get caught up in the blame game and stop talking for years. Things just happen.
What I believe is that we can show up and try every day to be present. We can listen, empathize, forgive ourselves and forgive each other. We can reach out and share our talents with our coworkers. We can do our best for our communities. We can show our spouses we love them by saying "I love you" in ways that make them know that we still care. We can hug our children, we can call our parents. We can tell our friends how much they mean to us while we can.
Life is so freaking unpredictable. The more you try to control it, and the people in it, the more you lose your ability to manage the inevitable change.
No one starts out as a child thinking that that she may be alone, evicted someday without a place to stay. No one expects to feel wrecked by a death of a loved one that rocks our world so hard you feel it for years. No one expects to find themselves feeling alone after years of being surrounded by family and friends, and yet so many of our fellow humans are by themselves and are suffering from depression because they lack a good group people who care.
There's no secret recipe to a good life. It's all in the technique of how you are living it. If you remain open and feel grateful for what gifts you've been given, you can be happy despite the constant challenge and changes that life throws at you. I try to be a realistic optimist -- thinking good of people and situations unless I am proven otherwise. Giving someone the benefit of doubt rather than assuming the worst goes a long way when you don't want to be controlling.
I'm convinced that the only way to get through life is by taking the time to create and maintain meaningful connections with others. This helps us create an invisible web which keeps us steady when our worlds are rocking out of our control. There's beauty and strength in relying on others.