Choosing Joy: Striking a Balance With Control & Being Receptive to Change
I’ll be the first to admit- I’m a perfectionist. I like my spaces to be clean and organized to a T, I like my schoolwork to be my best work every single time (I’ve chilled a little more on this thank goodness), I take way too much time editing photos for the blog… you get the idea. But lately I've been choosing joy, instead of letting that perfectionism run my life.
And this perfectionism drives me to feel the need for control in many aspects of my life. That’s why I’m so dedicated to such a strict schedule and why my mood is easily effected when something “messes” it up (one of this year’s goals is to be more adaptive to change so I’m working on being more okay with hiccups in my schedules). It’s also why I feel most comfortable in my own spaces where I know I have control over the environment, over what I do and if I can do it, over making my own food so I know I won't get sick.
And once again, I’ll admit- this isn’t always healthy.
(This past weekend I got to talk all about health, fitness, dealing with stress and anxiety and our crazy busy schedules with my girl Christina from Addicted To Lovely over breakfast at Harlow. Taking the time to do things like this, even when I feel like I have no time to dedicate to anything other than school and Alpha Phi, helps keep me sane and brings so much joy into this crazy time!)
This need for control is the biggest factor in my anxiety (which thankfully has gotten a lot better!) and although it feels like forever ago, I was thinking back to being home for Christmas break. It truly made me realize that I need to be more okay and comfortable not being in control.
When I’m home, it really isn’t my space anymore, it’s my parents’ space, and that can be difficult for me. Even though I love my home and spending time with my parents (aka my best friends) I don’t have as much control and that’s hard for me. I know that may seem silly because who really cares, but it’s just something I deal with.
But as much as I’ve been working on being okay with giving up control and simply going with the imperfect, random ebbs and flows of life, I think control can play a positive role as well.
I’ve really been trying my best to be okay with change and going with the flow, so when I sat down to meditate the other night, the mantra that I came right to my mind surprised me: “You are in control.”
I honestly popped my eyes open on my mat and was like WAIT WHAT NAT NO. But then I thought about it and it truly was the mantra that served me best at that moment.
(Thank GOODNESS I have this girl to keep me sane and to vent to when life gets out of control)
I realized I truly didn’t mean I was in physical control of life, of what was going on around me, of what happened every day. What I was reaffirming in myself was that I had control over how I REACTED to the uncontrollable factors, events and emotions in my life. I can embrace the uncontrollable if I embrace the fact that I decide how they affect me. I can only control how I move through life, the light that I give off and the mood that I am in.
Right now is a hectic time for me to say the least. I’m going through my first official months of being my sorority’s president and with that comes a lot of work and a huge time commitment. There is just so much coming up on my plate and after a blissful, very relaxing Jan Term, these first few weeks of the semester have been a doozy.
I haven’t had a moment to simply relax. If I’m not working on piles of homework, I’m answering emails and texts about Alpha Phi, or I’m in meetings, or I’m at work… I feel like I’m constantly on edge.
Every weekend has been packed and this weekend I’m in Denver, Colorado for an Alpha Phi convention. It seems as if there’s no break and no space to breathe, but that’s just how life goes sometimes. And I’m learning to breathe through these times, even though it’s hard and overwhelming and I can’t control everything in a way that I feel comfortable.
So as I sat down to meditate that night, I found the deep need to reaffirm that I can control how these busy, unstructured, uncontrollable times affect me.
At that moment on my mat I made the decision that the craziness that lay ahead would be full of joy and I wouldn’t be broken down or stressed out, because I’m in control even when I’m not.
So this is me saying that I am choosing happiness even on the busiest days, I am choosing excitement even though I’m nervous for everything that lay ahead and I am choosing calmness even in the midst of what feels like a never-ending race.
How we feel and how we go through each day is truly a choice and I challenge you to choose joy. :)