Ciao, my lovelies.
Whilst I’m still off conjuring up my next debatable screed for Moriquendi, I though the dozen or so of you who follow this blog might enjoy reading the following guest post of sorts, written in a personal message from my inamorata. I thought it raised some interesting points… interesting enough that I wanted to share them here. She agreed, and here we are. Her text follows, between the hearts.
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I was at some work training about networking or business communication. The teacher drew three nested circles on the board, the first quite small, the next only three times the diameter of the first, and then a huge circle that filled the rest of the space he could reach. He pointed to the first, smallest, innermost circle and said, ‘This is what you can control. This circle only contains you.’ He pointed to the next circle, ‘This is what you can influence, this is your environment, your family, your co-workers.’ He pointed to the huge circle. ‘This is everything else, and it is beyond your control or influence.’ The next fifteen minutes were about how to grow the circle of influence, and it was very interesting, but not the most important thing I took away from the meeting.
I like to be in control of everything around me. Some call it ‘control-freak.’ I call it anxiety or PTSD. I lived in unsafe conditions where I couldn’t depend on anyone for too many years, and my angels of self-reliance then are my demons of control-freakishness now.
Changing my perspective from ‘control’ of my environment to ‘influence’ has helped a lot. Of course I cannot control everything around me, but I can influence it, and if I consider it as influence, my hand becomes more gentle. I can suggest instead of command. I can request instead of do.
I’ve been sharing this idea with my highly anxious step-daughter who is afraid that if she forgets to tell us to be safe even once when we’re finishing our nightly phone call that something terrible might happen to us and it will be her fault.
Wanting to control everything around you creates a false sense of responsibility for things outside of you, your influence, and on into that outer circle of things you cannot even touch.
But the thing about this metaphor that struck me today, an unexamined idea sitting underneath the whole thing, is that I am in control of myself. I am in control of my Self. This isn’t just, ‘I am responsible for my actions,’ because of course I am, but also, ‘I can choose differently.’ I can choose better. I am in control of me, and I can choose compassion, empathy, action, learning. I can choose security, hope, helping, love. I can choose.
My circle of me might be small, but it is wholly mine.
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Ashé, dear readers, until next time.