Sandra and I were working with a client. With all of our coaching clients, we do a values elicitation, which gets the client to write down, usually for the first time in their lives, a list of the values that drive their behavior. These values make up an unspoken rules system that develops over the course of your life. Some of the rules are good, but usually there are some that are not so good.
On this particular occasion, the client listed the value of “safe.” It was her #1 value of all the ones she identified. Then, when we asked her what has to happen in order for her to feel safe, she said, “Everything has to go normally. Nothing unusual can happen.”
Think about that for a moment.
How can you ever have your value fulfilled, if that’s the criteria for the value to function properly? You can’t! Something is going to pop up in the course of day-to-day living that’s unusual, and that’s going to lead to feeling unsafe. It’s a tough way to go through life.
We actually run into different versions of this with clients quite often. At the heart of it all, it’s really about the need that human beings have for control. People spend a lot of time and energy focusing on all the different aspects of life that involve control.
- Home environment
Each one of those life topics has lots and lots of sub-topical aspects. It doesn’t take long for a person to find elements of daily living that are beyond one’s control. So how you frame the idea of control becomes essential to living a happy life.
Do you spend more time thinking about what you can’t control, or what you can control?