We can't control everything, but we can control how we feel.
Updated: Mar 18, 2019
Sometimes, I get caught up in the fact that I think I can control just about everything that happens to me. And when something doesn't go my way, I blame myself and others, instead of simply realizing that maybe, just maybe, it really is out of my control this time. We can’t control everything, and we shouldn’t dwell on something if it goes wrong. I have a couple stories for explanation. One involves my friend's choice and one involves my own. But both choices were made based on what we couldn’t control.
So I had been sick all day, feeling congested, as my body also felt feverish because I laid in the sun way too long the day before. But besides the point, I wasn't feeling up for anything today. But I knew I had dinner reservations at Nobu, this really fancy restaurant in South Beach. So I rested up, all day long, skipping out on the beach to lay in bed, and prepare myself to go out to dinner later.
The hours passed and I was still in bed, until I texted my friend asking what the plan was. He had said that he was still in South Beach, and the traffic was so bad he wouldn’t have time to go home and change and shower to make it in back in time for dinner.
I was shook. I wasted my whole day ‘preparing myself’ and ‘resting up’ to not go to Nobu, the plans we had been talking about all week. Instead of understanding right away at first, I got angry. I thought my friend was being flaky and maybe he wasn’t as excited after all for the dinner.
But it dawned on me that yes, it was a last minute change of plans, but it was neither of our faults- the traffic was just too bad.
So with no more dinner, I made other plans, and then received a message from a Tinder guy. No, I don’t use Tinder much, but the conversation I had with this guy a couple days before was something I rarely experience. I felt as though he got me already and even though we hadn’t met, I was smitten. He was funny without trying too hard, and that’s something difficult to do over messenger.
This second story involves something I couldn't change, and how I realized I shouldn't blame myself for the circumstances.
This guy had messaged me to hang out, and we had been planning for tonight, but I assumed he probably wouldn’t follow through. I had expected the worst, because I didn't want to get my hopes up. So when he actually messaged me, I was so excited. But despite my excitement, I was too sick to even think about it.
I didn’t want to meet someone for the first time sneezing into my elbow and coughing all over the place.
But after telling him no, and saying I just wasn’t up for it, my mind began racing through possible scenarios. Perhaps he thinks I’m a flake. Or maybe because I said no this time he won’t ever hit me up again? Did I ruin the chance that we’ll ever meet?
I began blaming myself, wishing I wasn’t sick, and debating whether I should say, oops never mind, I’m feeling fine.
But I wasn’t going to say that, because I wasn’t feeling fine. My sickness was completely out of my control.
Instead of dwelling on my decision, I should’ve been patting myself on the back. I made the right decision because if I really wanted to be my 100% best self around someone I was trying to impress, showing up sick would certainly not help.
And as for my friend, he could have rushed to get ready, and maybe we would’ve been 20-30 minutes late to dinner. But then I would have felt bad, he would’ve been tired, and it wouldn’t have been the same experience.
Sometimes certain things aren’t meant to happen when we want them to. We get sick; we get stuck in traffic; we deal with it. We choose to make the right decision, and what we think is best.
Yeah my night didn’t go as planned. But it was still fine. We can’t control our circumstances all the time, but we can control how we feel about them. Instead of laying in bed, sulking about how I couldn’t meet this guy because I was sick, I’m accepting that I just wasn’t up for it.
We shouldn't take the blame for what's out of our control, and we shouldn't blame others for what they can't control either.
In the future I’ll probably go to Nobu at some point. And I’ll probably feel just as smitten as I did messaging this guy I’ve never met.
And despite knowing most circumstances I can’t control, it’s exciting knowing that any day can be just as spontaneous as we want. Nothing will always go according to plan. And instead of beating ourselves up about it, we should go with the flow, make do with what happens (and in my case, hope that the other person doesn’t think we’re a flake).
We have to give people the benefit of the doubt, but we also have to remember not to blame ourselves either for things we can’t control.
Because sometimes, all we have to do, and all we can do, is accept our circumstances, and remind ourselves, it just wasn't meant to happen for us in this moment. But that doesn't mean it won't ever happen.