Yaffa Family Law Group
By: Doreen Yaffa

Monday Message: April 13, 2020

Looking Forward: Building an Amazing Life
Control what you can and know the difference…

The bottom line is that we can’t control what we can’t control. There are lots of things that are beyond our control, just as there are many things we can manage.

Many of us spend a lot of time trying to change our circumstances. A circumstance is oftentimes a fact that no one can debate. In law, it’s proof beyond any doubt.

Examples in family law include a spouse filing for divorce or an ex-spouse failing to make a court-ordered support payment. These are circumstances. They are facts that no one can debate as to whether they happened.

Circumstances cause thoughts that cause feelings, which in turn cause actions, followed by results. Of those five things, the only thing that we cannot control is the circumstance.

Look at it this way:

Circumstance = fact
Thought = what we think about the circumstance
Feeling = the way our body feels about the thought i.e. sad, angry or anxious
Action = what we do or not do in response to the feeling
Result = the outcome of the action

Some people confuse thought with a circumstance.

Consider this circumstance: You walk in the room and your spouse says nothing. Maybe your first thought is, “My husband is distant, he must be considering divorce.” Your feelings might be anger or sadness. The action you take is yelling or withdrawing from him. The result is that your relationship suffers.

What if you thought the circumstance of your husband being silent was something different? For example, “My husband is stressed about the virus and just doesn’t want to speak.”

Now, your feeling is no longer anger or sadness. It is compassion and understanding. The action you take is to give him a hug and tell him you care. The result is love and a connection.

The coronavirus is a circumstance that exists and is beyond our control.

What we can control are our thoughts about it. We can be grateful that we are safe and healthy. We can view it as an opportunity to be with our family and do things that we wouldn’t normally have time for. We can go for a run in the middle of the day, spend time learning a new language, reflect on the fact that we are OK.

Choose to spend your energy and thoughts on what is within your control. It is a much better use of your time and will produce the results you want.

The choice is yours. Truly, it is. Be healthy in mind and body.

Doreen Yaffa
Board Certified Marital & Family Attorney, Life Coach

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