“Locus of Control” is a psychology term that identifies our beliefs about the amount of control we have over our life. Having an" internal locus of control" indicates that an individual believes that events are largely controlled by one’s own actions. But if we feel that what happens to us or how well we succeed depends mostly on external factors such as the economy or the actions of our families, friends, co-workers, etc. we have an "external locus of control". Having an "external locus of control" is like having a victim mentality. The victim and the person with an external locus of control both tend to be passive and wait for things to happen to them. They allow outside influences to make their decisions for them and wait for others to come up with solutions for any problems they make be having. They tend to blame something outside themselves for their actions, their feelings and their emotions, as well as for what actually happens in their lives. These people say things like "he made me so mad" or "because of what he did I am so depressed and sad". Kind of like the husband who states "It's my wife's fault that I hit her".

You don't have to have a life makeover to be confident and powerful, it is just a mindset. You don't have to change anything at all except for your thinking. Most of us recognize the error in thinking when the husband states 'it's my wife's fault I got angry and hit her." But we may not recognize the error in saying "He made me sad" or "She made me mad". The truth is that we are allowing ourselves to feel sad or mad. We are giving up our power to another person when we allow ourselves to be angry or sad because of something someone else did. If something does not go as we would like or as we planned, instead of giving away our power and blaming someone or something outside ourselves we need to TAKE BACK OUR POWER. We need to ask ourselves what we could have done differently to get a different outcome, that way we can make better choices next time a similar situation comes up and those different choices will produce different results. Then we need to forgive ourselves for any mistakes we have made, forgive and forget the mistakes of others, and then move on. One important point I must make, forgiving and forgetting when others make mistakes and/or do us some kind of wrong, is emotionally freeing to us. But that doesn't mean that we have to put ourselves in a position that leaves us vulnerable for them to repeat whatever they did to us. Being confident and powerful means that we forgive and forget, we don't spend our time dwelling on and agonizing over the behavior of ourselves and others. But we also maintain healthy boundaries so that we are not a subject to that behavior again. For instance, if your nightly phone call from your sister or your mother ends up as an hour of complaints and negativity that leaves you drained and unhappy, you need to limit the phone call to five minutes when you are planning to leave for some activity. You state up front that you just wanted to say hello and make sure they were alright but you can't stay on the line to talk because you have to be somewhere in ten minutes. Or you may choose to limit the phone calls to just once weekly. Whatever you need to do to protect yourself from being and feeling abused.

Sometimes we give away our power by making excuses or setting up false prerequisites in front of the things we say we want. We say we want to go to college but we have to save up a large sum of money first. We have to work to support ourselves and there is just no way we could find enough time to study because of the hours we have to work. Or we say we will sign up for college as soon as we pay off our car or move closer to the college of our choice. Then we trade in our car for a newer model that tacks on two more years of payments. What would happen if we traded in our car for an older car that cost the same as what our current car was worth? And we signed up for an online class that we could work on from home during whatever hours we were not required to be at our job? Yes, if we just took one class at a time, it would take us longer to complete our degree. But each time we completed a class, we would be one class closer to completing that degree.

When we get angry or upset at things we cannot control, we are giving away our power. If we get angry at another person, we are giving them our power to use against us. Trying to change or control someone else instead of concentrating on changing ourselves is another way of giving up our power. Dwelling on guilt related to something we cannot control is another way to give away our power. We maintain our power by controlling and/or changing ourselves and the areas that we have control over and accepting and living with (or even by quietly and unemotionally avoiding) those people and areas we do not have control over. Yes, this is all easier said than done. But the more you practice thinking and behaving in confident and powerful ways rather than in victim mode, the easier it becomes.

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