“They can’t control me!”
That was my immature rant almost a decade ago. At the time I had a supervisor who was trying to dictate my career path. He was adamant that I accept a certain role and I was adamant that would not! I was so determined that I would not do what he was saying that I left. That’s right! I showed him.
And then it happened again.
I found another job and was happy with my new job—for about two months. Then guess what happened? They began dictating that I do what I didn’t think I should do! I remember the day my regional supervisor closed the door, sat me down and said, “Sheron, when you signed the dotted line, this is what you agreed to. When you accept your check you’re agreeing to push our agenda. You have a decision to make.” I made it alright. I left!
And then it happened again.
When life starts to feel like the movie Groundhog Day, it’s time to stop and reflect. I did that.
During my reflection period I recognized that my pattern dated back to Junior High School (now called Middle School.) I seemed to spend much time railing about who wasn’t going to tell me what to do or who wasn’t going to control me. Over the years I spent countless hours wrestling with authority figures, complaining to my friends, and fussing to myself in the car, washing the dishes or where ever else I would listen to me. All of that energy wasted.
Thank goodness for mentors.
After my most frustrating job departure, while on a new job, I began sensing frustration…again! I felt as if I was being asked to complete tasks that I was in disagreement with. This time though I was aware enough to recognize my pattern so I called my mentor to share how I was feeling.
She said, “Brown, what you are feeling is not frustration. What you are feeling is misdirected energy that needs to manifest itself creatively. Redirect that energy into your creativity and stop worrying about what others are doing. No one can control you unless you believe they can.”
Since wisdom has spoken, I’ve done exactly as my mentor advised, and you know what I have discovered? No matter what anyone think they may be doing to control you, they will only have that power if you allow them through your acknowledgement—whether the acknowledgment is you saying yes despite misalignment with your integrity or railing against them loudly. It is your acknowledgement through your reaction that can give their words and actions the power to control you.
That being said, who or what are you allowing to control you? What circumstance or person are you perceiving as trying to hold you back? They are only doing this to you because you are allowing them to do so through your belief about the situation.
The reality is this: you are free. You are free to create strife—as I did—and you are equally free to thrive, even in the toughest situation. But you must first acknowledge that how you choose to perceive the situation is up to you. You must also remind yourself when frustration tries to arise that you are free to redirect your energy. Yes, frustration does still come up, but I remind myself of the truth I’ve learned. This truth also applies to you, so say it with me: I AM free.