Tag Archives: people

5 Uncontrollable Things We Try to Control (and Make a Mess of It)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

woman riding on black vehicle
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

We like control. That’s not weird.

Control is good. We want to control our toddlers because they do not know how to be safe. We must control our cars or people will be hurt. Controlled tempers keep us out of fights and jail. Self-control is wise.

Focusing on what is within our control helps keep us sane. It is when we try to force influence over uncontrollable things and situations that we and those around us suffer.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) lists “Accept that you cannot control everything” as the number one way to deal with stress and anxiety.* The following are, I believe, common fuels for anxiety and possibly depression.

Five uncontrollable things we wish to control 

Other adults. We have zero control over the choices of others. Efforts at gaining control leave us frustrated and angry. Abuse is an obvious attempt at control, but so is political  vitriol. I know of a daughter and mother who rarely speak to one another because of disagreement over politics. No one in this scenario will change her mind, so what is the silent treatment for? 

Other drivers.  Yesterday on a local freeway, a driver weaved dangerously close between cars at about 85 miles per hour. It is amusing that my travel at a legal pace landed us at the same spot about five miles later. Trying to own the road makes a fool of an impatient driver. No one admires the person whose road-rage so easily overpowers good sense.

People groups. Whether the group is different by race or gender, age or belief system, pointing and accusing will not change anyone. One talk show host pointed to the TV camera and said, “Jesus was just a man.” In the same breath she condemned  believers who value sharing their faith. This hypocritical attempt at control (it is okay for me to share my beliefs but not okay for you to do so) will not enlighten a person, let alone a society. 

The future. No doubt this sums up all the rest. If designing the future was up to us, we would not suffer or experience disappointment. As it is, the doctor may have difficult news, a future spouse’s parents may not like his or her choice in a mate, relationships end, and sometimes we fail. Trying to control any of this will leave us fearful of facing the next day.

God. God is the king of the unknown. I claim Jesus as my Savior and worship God the Father as the one in Sovereign control. He has never let me down, so shouldn’t it be easy to let go and let God? Trust is difficult when my focus is on fear of potentially unhappy circumstances rather than his goodness. 

I suspect this is the same reason many try to design their own gods. By controlling one’s object of worship, this god cannot demand what one does not want to give. Trust and a sense of God’s love are absent. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 34:4
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.


NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.



Sustained Loneliness Can Be Life Threatening. Here Are 10 Ways to Escape That Trap

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness, Addiction, and Abuse   (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

The human need for connection is both cause and solution to many of our emotional and physical ills. 

Our heart-cry is for deeper, more meaningful and consistent relationships. 

Psychology as a science sometimes seems a little behind-the-times. Doctors in this field have found that people are social beings with a basic need for companionship and connection. This is common sense, and a fact I am sure most human societies have understood from the beginning of time. 

Still, deeper study on human behavior shows the negative physical effects of this unmet need.  In The Dangers of Loneliness , written by Hara Estroff Marano and published at https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200307/the-dangers-loneliness,  the author writes, “…the effects are distinct enough to be measured over time, so that unmet social needs take a serious toll on health, eroding our arteries, creating high blood pressure, and even undermining learning and memory.

Loneliness occurs when we realize the pain and emptiness isolation creates.  “Chronic loneliness is something else entirely. It is one of the surest markers in existence for maladjustment,” Marano continues. “…The net result is that the lonely experience higher levels of cumulative wear and tear.”

Ten ways to finally escape sustained loneliness

(1) Challenge your expectations. Do not wait for rescue while you shrivel away.  It is not coming, because no one is humanly capable of meeting your every need.  Your mental and emotional health is  your responsibility. Support is a reasonable hope, nevertheless, we often have to find it.  

(2) Don’t be invisible.  Be with people and make a noise. As a quiet person, you may be great. However no one knows this about you unless you speak.  Express who you are in some way that others can understand. Verbally, writing, participating, music, and art are means to this. Avoid  vagueness: no one is a mind reader.

(3) Invite.  Loneliness is both a result and cause of depression, anxiety, and neurosis. In turn, the one who is chronically lonely may incidentally build walls that prevent others from coming in or wanting to.  Invite your neighbors to dinner or tea. Watch sports events, or have an art party.  Love to teach? Volunteer to tutor. 

(4) Be pleasant. Make those amends. Quit complaining. Take your hands off other people’s lives and your nose out of their business. Speak life and encouragement to others so they will want to spend time with you.

(5) Accept invitations  and show up.  Opportunities to get out of your home and head are positive. Your nephew’s piano recital may seem like death to you, go anyway.  Attend  the neighborhood conservation meeting. Watch football with  your grumpy father-in-law.  Hopefully you  find enjoyable events, however, the point is to go out and mingle. Period. 

(6) Make relationships meaningful .  Do your connections lack depth? Insert some. Be vulnerable without whining. Listen actively and look to better understand those around you. Share your hopes and dreams and search for commonalities. 

(7) Invest in people. This is similar to number 6, except this is serving. Give of yourself. Volunteer.  Can you share what fills your days  with others who may also feel lonely? Does a young mother need help with fetching groceries? Does an elderly man need rides? Take the time to exercise number 6.

(8)Compromise.  Wish you could travel and lack of money keeps you home?  Skype, Facetime, email, social media, or old-fashioned letter writing (which is special these days), and occasional phone calls are all means to be with people you miss.  If you don’t have a computer, go to the library. Smile and say hi to people. Many libraries have free classes, too. 

(9) Step past personal pain.  Chronic loneliness. Wow. Have you thought about the implications of that?  Emotional neglect and abuse form a vacuum inside a person that may never feel quite filled.  Isolation, self-inflicted or not, may result.  Anxiety disorders, PTSD,  and general physical and mental limitations are all reasons to reach out for help. It is available.  Call helplines, online volunteer efforts,  churches,  and local resources to ask about help for a specific need. 

(10) Ask positive questions. This list falls short of an even ten. You fill in the blank. What can you do to get your own needs met?    

I know it is difficult. It is doable. I know it is terrifying. Facing the fear brings rewards. Change is hard, even if it is for the positive. Change can set us free. 

Today’s Helpful Word 


  • The Dangers of Loneliness By Hara Estroff Marano, published on July 1, 2003 – last reviewed on June 9, 2016; Psychology Today © 1991-2018 Sussex Publishers, LLC | HealthProfs.com © 2002-2018 Sussex Directories, Inc.