So things aren’t going your way huh? There is nothing worse than feeling like you have no control over your life. Sometimes you just can’t catch a break.  Work is stressful, your marriage is suffering, your kids don’t listen, your family is fighting, your friends don’t call anymore, you can’t lose weight, you don’t have money, your house is falling apart, a loved one gets sick,….aaaah! How do we deal with this?

First, I am going to share a little story to give you some perspective and then I will end with some tips on what you can do when things aren’t going your way.

So I pick my kids up from school and they can’t wait to get outside and play in the 100 feet of snow we have. (Did I mention I live in the Frozen Tundra? We’ve been living in a polar vortex for a million days!?)

My kids were not happy when I told them that homework needed to be finished before going outside. Teya, my 5 year old daughter, was especially irritated because she didn’t have homework and that meant she had to wait for her brother. So she waits and waits. My son’s whining made the homework last way longer than it needed to, which meant snow time got cut down to 30 minutes instead of 60 minutes because Elliot had basketball practice. Can you imagine my daughter’s face when I go outside to tell her we have to leave as she is trying to make Olaf the snowman from the movie “Frozen”?!

Relentlessly, she gets in the car and mutters under her breath, “Why do we always have to do this stuff for Elliot?”

As we walk into basketball practice, Teya sees a friend from school and her pouty face disappears. She is thrilled! She asks excitedly, “Mom! Mom! Can we stay here? I want to play!”

Ugh, her friend from school just had to be there! I was dreading answering her question…”No, honey, I am sorry. We need to get back home and finish dinner.”

The entire car ride home she sat in the backseat with her arms crossed. Her face was fuming and I have never seen a bigger, poutier lip in my life. We arrive home and she slams the door, throws her boots and jacket down and starts marching up the stairs. I was not impressed with this behavior, so I say, “Teya Lynn….” (Yep, I broke out the middle name)…I couldn’t even finish my sentence and she says, “Mom, I am going upstairs. I am not happy and I am going to find something to do that makes me happy!”

So I said, “OK”

Now talk about some self-care at its finest. You may look at this story like it is just some pouty, 5 year-old girl’s problems but it is way more. Teya’s situation is just like any adult not getting their way, Teya had no control of her life. She could not do what she wanted to do. She couldn’t make her own decisions, she couldn’t make her snowman when she wanted to, and she couldn’t play with her friend. There are times that we can’t do what we want and things don’t go the way we want because LIFE GETS IN THE WAY!

Things happen that we cannot control. People get sick. We lose our jobs. We struggle in relationships. Something breaks. Something falls apart. Sometimes the timing of things sucks. Sometimes we feel like it is only happening to us – news for you – it’s not! Everyone around you is going through something – you get to decide how to deal with it. Take some tips from Teya.

Tips for Handling Things When They Aren’t Going Your Way:

Express your feelings

Teya expressed her anger. You need to get your feelings out. Yes, she slammed the door and threw her boots off but she didn’t hurt me or anyone else. She needed to express some anger.  She has learned this behavior, so I can’t fault her for it. She was mad. I would be too if someone was telling me what to do all the time.  Sometimes it feels good to slam doors…but try to find safe and healthy ways to get out the anger. Sit in your car and scream, get a punching bag, go for a run, clean your house, listen to loud music, write down your feelings, etc.

Talk about it

Teya explained how she was feeling and what she was doing about it. This was healthy communication.  It helped me understand her frustrations and I was able to relate. She wasn’t happy. Had she not told me what was going on, I probably would have disciplined her for slamming doors and pouting. Feelings are meant to be felt, expressed, and talked about. If you aren’t open about your feelings, people have no way of knowing what is going on. Also, you will find that talking about it will help you process things and makes you feel better.

Take Loving Action

Teya took care of herself. She removed herself from the situation. She was mad at the situation not me.  If she would have stayed by me, she probably would have gotten more upset with me. She went to a place that made her happy. She went to a place that was “hers”. She went to a place where she could decided what to do. You can’t control life, but you can control what YOU do and how you feel. You can take care of yourself.

Choose Happiness

Teya chose happiness. The situation sucked for her. I mean who wants to be told what to do all day? All she wanted to do was play and do it her way and on her time. Who wouldn’t want that?  She couldn’t control what was happening, but she could choose how she was going to feel about it. She expressed her displeasure with the situation and then DECIDED TO BE HAPPY. Even when life isn’t going your way, you can always decide to be happy.