Let It Go: stressing about things you cannot control

Thursday, December 15, 2016 Permalink

I’m fairly certain all of the parents out there are cursing at me now as the (in)famous song from Frozen will be stuck in their head all day.

But, this post actually evolved from something (well, a few things) I couldn’t bloody let go… until finally I realised there was no point holding onto them any more cos I was the only one being affected.

I try not to be easily irked, but like many people, I am. I’m far more zen than I once was, but people… rather than things tend to frustrate the bejesus out of me.

I was feeling upset early last week. It felt like a few people were kinda letting me down – in a work and personal sense.

As I waited for some resolution I became increasingly grumpy. And stressed.

And then – realisation struck as I was writing last week’s post. Which ironically was about realisation. D-oh!

It occurred to me these personal slights were all in my head. The people at the other end of them had no bloody idea that I was upset or angry. In fact, the people at the other end most likely didn’t even realise they’d offended or bothered me in some way.

I joke this kind of thing is because I’m self-absorbed and assume everything is about me me ME! I do realise – however – the people-pleaser in me worries too much about how I’m perceived by others.

It’s something I’m working on: catastrophising less and reality-checking my obsessive thoughts before they spin out of control. I need to get better at letting things go: at recognising that I need to take responsibility for my own thoughts and my own responses; and not making assumptions about others that ultimately means they ‘fail’ me in some way.

Are you good at letting things go? Do you waste time obsessing / stressing about things that you cannot control or that may not be true?

the-lovin-life-linkyI’ve joined Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit and some other bloggers to help promote “ageing positively” and the Lovin’ Life mindset across the interwebs. You can link up via any one of us!

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy from 50 Shades of Age
Johanna from Lifestyle Fifty
Min from Write of the Middle.
and Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit.


42 Comments
  • HandbagMafia
    December 15, 2016

    I certainly have done. I have pretty high expectations at times and I have had to learn that not everyone views friendship, for example, the way that I do!

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Yes, I’m the same. I also have less other commitments than many of my friends which is something I need to remember!

  • kathymarris
    December 15, 2016

    Yep you have just described me to a tee! I am super-sensitive and take everything to heart, so much so that I lie in bed thinking about things I should have said or done. However I too am learning to “let it go” under certain circumstances, such as my elderly Mum always saying stupid and sometimes hurtful things to be. She is old and I have to give her some leeway. We all need to understand that it isn’t always about “us”!

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Oh yes. I had this lengthy bit in there about how – if my boss is grumpy at work – I tend to think it’s me or my work / something I’ve done, but rarely has anything to do with me!

  • Johanna
    December 15, 2016

    Yes, me me me! So true 🙂 When it’s happening it’s so hard to stand back and be objective. As you say though so much is in our own heads, and our egos get out of control. I love Leanne’s idea – when people are (in our eyes) being frustrating, just turn it round and think, ‘how fascinating.’

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      In the situation I mentioned a week or two ago Jo I overanalysed it so much I was offering up feasible ‘defences’ for the other side as well as my own complaints, so I could see that I was probably over-reacting, but still…

  • Jan Wild
    December 15, 2016

    Good advice and we all fall down that hole from time to time. The trick is to recognise and act, as you have done.

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Yes Jan very true. Something else happened (long story and work-related) that made me realise that all this stuff I was projecting was all in my head and I’d wasted so much time angsting about it!

  • Lydia C. Lee
    December 15, 2016

    What’s that saying? About Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die…

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Oh yes Lydia, so very true…. and I was like that. I was simmering away and all the time kinda knew these people weren’t really trying to ‘slight’ me… they weren’t even thinking about me.

  • sizzlesue15
    December 15, 2016

    Hi Deb, last week you wrote on my blog about your Positive Body Image struggles. Well now I’m writing about my difficulties letting go. I write about it and know what I should do but sometimes it can be a little hard. I am much better now that I am older probably because I realise that life is finite and I don’t want to waste time worrying about insignificant things. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Oh yes, it’s hard isn’t it Sue when we know better, but it’s hard to turn that thinking around!

  • Vanessa
    December 15, 2016

    Well I was going to write a post today about idiots that can’t drive, that cram onto buses that were never going to be full in the first place… I don’t know. Usually I’m fairly good at letting go of the small things but I’ve been having trouble sleeping for the past week which means that every single person in the world is horrible and stupid and deliberately doing things to annoy me. I’ll feel better when I can sleep again…

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      I’m fairly sure there is most certainly a conspiracy against you Vanessa. Oh wait… I wasn’t supposed to tell you. (Just torture and annoy you!) 😉

  • Janet Camilleri
    December 15, 2016

    This was me for such a long time … then like you, I realised the people at the other end usually didn’t even realise. Then I went to the other extreme of letting everybody off the hook … but if they don’t know they’re being offensive/rude/inconsiderate things will never change, so in the past year or two I’ve realised that sometimes I still need to let them know so they can mend their ways.

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      I can’t imagine going to the other extreme Janet, and (as you said) they need to be accountable for their actions etc… but yes, I need to find some middle ground!

  • kimbacaffeinate
    December 15, 2016

    This is wonderful. I mastered the art of letting go a long time ago, and as I age I care less about what people think. Unless someone is directly and obviously mean I move on because life is just too darn short. I always told my kids, “Will this matter a year from now?” If the answer is no, then let it go.

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Oh yes, I love that Kimberly… I’ve always been the sort of person to hold onto things for far too long so reminding yourself that it won’t matter long term is a concept I love!

  • Katherine P
    December 15, 2016

    Yep! Definitely cursing you for the title here! I can already hear Elsa screaming in my head! I have gotten better about letting go but it was a struggle. I used to get so upset and worked up because the kids wouldn’t respond a certain way and it would just ruin days for me. I’ve gotten a lot better about it and for the most part don’t care what people think. I just have to remind myself to do the best I can and to do what I feel good about and the rest of them can stick it!

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Oh it would be hard with kids Katherine – sure they’re purposely making your life difficult or acting in a certain way, when they probably have no idea how it impacts on your or they’re in their own little bubble…

  • leannelc
    December 15, 2016

    Letting go has been a huge learning curve for me – I have been such a control freak and people pleaser and worrier all my life. BUT the last couple of years have been my epiphany and I’ve shed a lot of the things that were causing me stress – including a “friend” or two, my old job, and numerous commitments that were well past their use by date. It’s very liberating when you untighten your fist and release it all. (Release was my word for 2015 btw)

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Ahhh… good word! I’ve recently unfollowed a heap of blogs and FB pages and the like – ones that impacted negatively in some way… and most of the time it was more about my reaction than the content / person. But I think it’s good sometimes to protect ourselves if we know something will be unhealthy for us mentally / emotionally.

  • robjodiefilogomo
    December 15, 2016

    I can’t tell you how perfect this post is for this time in the year….because (as my husband & I always say) it all depends on your perspective. And trying to see things from other’s point of view can make you realize how insignificant our “problems” really are—-or just like you said—let it go!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
    #Lovin’life

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Oh yes, this time of year is TERRIBLE for stress, worry and anxiety and I think when we’re feeling fragile we’re more likely to (ummmmm) *possibly* not think as rationally as we normally would and things get blown out of proportion!

  • writeofthemiddle
    December 15, 2016

    What you’ve described is me to a T Deb. I create all sorts of things in my silly head! I catastrophize, I make assumptions, I obsess, I re-run conversations in my mind over and over. It’s actually quite refreshing to realise there are so many others that do this stuff too! I think I’m not as bad at doing this stuff now I have simplified my life somewhat. At least I’m aware of my issues and that’s a good start in addressing them! 🙂

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      Min, you’ve made me think about it from the other point of view as well… recognising that others may be feeling like that about us sometimes and the need to be conscious of reassuring others when we suspect they need it.

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    December 15, 2016

    I may actually be the opposite. I don’t think anything is about me … when sometimes it probably is!! LOL. I’m actually serious … I think I walk around oblivious a lot of the time. It’s possible I’m the one pissing people off and I have no idea.

    Except for when I’m tired and run down and then it’s all about me and I get a bit paranoid of what others are thinking.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave …

    But on the whole, I can let go fairly quickly. My word(s) of the year see to that. Things aren’t going my way? Fuck it. Onward and upward!

    • Debbish
      December 15, 2016

      It’s very much something I need to improve Leanne as it’s such a time-waster (not to mention energy-waster and sleep depriver!).

  • seizetheday20
    December 16, 2016

    Spot on Deb. We all think too much!! I recently read a quote that said “What other people think of me is none of my business”. We can’t get into other people’s heads (thank goodness), so there’s no point in trying. My teenage daughter spends way too much time worrying about other people’s opinions of her. I tried to explain that most people are thinking about themselves rather than her (especially teenagers!!). I’m trying to be a positive role model for her by worrying less about what others think and just getting on with life. Easier said than done, but I’m working on it!! #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      December 16, 2016

      Oh yes… more challenging for those who are younger and more inexperienced. I can (at least) rationalise my thoughts and understand they *may* not be accurate but am sure I couldn’t do that when young.

  • Jo
    December 16, 2016

    Overthinkers anonymous? Yep, hand in the air. It’s something I’ve never quite grown out of either.

    • Debbish
      December 16, 2016

      Perhaps we should start a support group! 😉

  • Denyse Whelan
    December 16, 2016

    Jo and Deb, I am in that group!! I am getting better at thinking it’s about me (when it is highly likely NOT)…and I am learning this lesson every single day that I can control what goes in my head as an idea and how I might interpret that.
    I’ve had an off couple of days thanks to IBS which in turn stresses me out…which in turn…repeat.And even with all of the stuff I have been studying and learning about mindfulness I still get ‘stuck’ in the trap of over-thinking. Soooooo, today, another case in point, I was able to see the only person I had the problem with was ME and it was time for a bit of a get on with life talk and I did. Now, I have re-calibrated it feels better. Takes time to change…aint’ an easy thing at all. Denyse x

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2016

      Maybe we do need to start a Facebook group where we share our catastrophising and give others (in the group) permission to remind us how silly our worries are, in the hope we start recognising that ourselves.

  • Emma
    December 17, 2016

    I’m much better at letting things go than I once was. I put it down to age. I’m too old now to care too much

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2016

      Oh, you are far from old Emma… (from your pic and your blog!), but I think we do worry less as we get older. I think experience must teach us that so many of our fears don’t come to fruition!

  • Kat @anaussieinsf
    December 17, 2016

    Ugh, that’s something that I have to work on as well. Not taking offense too easily and not holding onto things unnecessarily. I’m sort of getting there and it makes life so much easier. Best of luck for the week ahead, I hope it’s a little more relaxing. #lovinlife

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2016

      Thanks Kat… I tend to think it’s good if we recognise something in our behaviour because at least then we’re conscious of what we’re doing and can start to ‘fight’ it. As I mention earlier… I overanalysed one of the situations to death and realised there were some possible scenarios for the other person’s behaviour…. so just needed to ‘let it go’ earlier!

  • Carol Cameleon
    December 17, 2016

    I was a born worrier. I say ‘was’ because although I’m still working on it, I’m much better than I was at slowing down, rationalising and doing things for me and when the ‘others’ are people I want to do it for! #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2016

      Ah yes, I can very much relate to that Carol!

  • Mystery Case
    December 17, 2016

    I usually pick a theme song rather than a word each year. I think this might be my new theme song… Let it go!

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2016

      Great idea Raych! (And there’s a ready-made song and everything!!!)

I'd love to hear your thoughts