When a disability enters your life you will lose control. There will be things you are no longer able to do. That is what a disability is. However control is essential for thriving in life.
Why reestablish control in your life after a Disability?
Control is one of the drives that are essential for one to thrive in life. Brendon Burchard in his book, The Charge, calls this being “Charged.” He lists 10 drives that are essential. This is the first blog about these drives.
We have sought to control our lives since infancy. When we learned to say “No” we used it constantly. It drove our parents crazy, but gave us control. We could stop what was going on. As soon as our parents realized how we would respond they asked questions so our response would be aligned with their wishes. Then they, too, had control again.
As we grew we sought to control more of our lives. This lead too many confrontation’s with our parents. We would refuse to go to bed even though we were just about to fall asleep where we were.
When we lose control we try to control what we can. When I rotated through Pediatrics the children suffering from cancer would choose who would draw their blood and do other things to them. This was one way they could control part of their lives. They would still feel the pain of a needle, but they would have someone of their choosing using the needle.
As my eyesight failed, I knew I would have to stop driving. For years I would fail the eye test and get my eye doctor to fill in the form. I realized that this would only work for a while. I decided that I did not want to hurt someone else due to my poor eyesight. Thus, after a very close call, I prayed on the issue. The answer came almost immediately with another near miss.
By choosing to stop driving I still maintained some control. I found resources that I did not know existed. A neighbor offered me rides to a civic group we were in. Others also offer me rides.
How to assess your level of control?
You can ask yourself three questions to assess your level of control (rate them on a scale of 1 to 10):
- How in control of your life do you feel?
- How in control of your emotions are you?
- How in control of the immediate world around you are you?
True, control is never absolutely all or nothing. There are times when no one can see – the lights went out. Even in the dark we can visualize what we feel and hear.
Since control is relative we need to establish references. But these references can either serve to trap us or let us thrive. If we choose references that trap us, we will be limited by them. When we choose references that let us thrive, they give us energy.
I could choose to define my eye sight as not as good as an athlete, or as it used to be. Or, I could say it is adequate to get around. And I can find the tools I need to supplement my poor eye sight. The latter lets me feel in control.
It is this feeling of being in control that is important. That is why the second question. Choose a reference that will let you score a 10. Don’t choose to compare your mobility to jelly fish.
Controlling the immediate world is what the kids on the pediatric ward were doing. By making choices and having them honored they were able to undergo things that could have left them in a tantrum and tears.
So, how do you get control of your life after a disability?
- Look at your attitude: as the old phrase goes, “Shit happens.” What is shit anyway? Is it the bodies waste or fertilizer?
- Do something new! As children we were always trying new things. Doing new and different things is “the spice of life.” Always doing the same thing is boring. So change your routine; eat something different, use a different route to get to the store, meet someone new.
- Control what you can. It might be simple as choosing who does the procedure, but find a way to control.
- List the things you can do.
- List the things you just did.
- Schedule some simple tasks before the hard ones.
- Challenge yourself to come up with new and novel ways to do things.
- Add to this list.
As all Ways, Seek Joy,
PS, when you are in control you are ABLE!