An Encouraging Word – Personal power

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

Though weak, they were made powerful. Hebrews 11:34

I run across many people who have become upset and resentful toward the behavior of those around them. In talking to them, it seems they are trapped in thinking that the only way out is to get people to change their behaviors.

When that fails, they end up frustrated and angry about their lack of power to change the person or situations they detest.

It is probably good for all of us to remember that we are never in control of another person.

We can’t control how anyone else feels, what they will say or what they will do. Self-control is the only real control we have. In reality, it is all the control we need.

One of the most helpful insights I have ever come across is one from Viktor E. Frankl, M.D., Ph.D., an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, as well as a Holocaust survivor.

“The last of human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,” he said.

No matter how outrageous, unfair, ridiculous, unjust and cruel someone’s behavior might be, we need not be a complete victim of it.

They may hurt us physically, financially or socially, but we can seize our power by choosing how we want to react to it. We may not be able to stop it, but we always have the power to choose — to shrug it off, laugh it off, ignore it or even forget it.

As William Shakespeare wrote in “Othello,” “The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”

Easier said than done, right? Just because it is not easy, however, does not mean it cannot be done!

If you think about it, and if you develop tremendous inner discipline, it brings you ultimate power over any unwanted circumstances.

So, if you are in an unwanted situation or up against people over whom you feel powerless, focus on yourself, not on that situation or person.

With whom or at what are you angry or disappointed? One of your children? A former spouse? An old boss? Your present pastor? A next door neighbor? A business partner? Your financial condition? Your health? Your living situation? The way the world is today?

Have you been unsuccessful in your efforts to change things no matter how hard you have tried?

Do you feel like you are standing in the median of the interstate trying to get the traffic to go the other way and people are ignoring you, laughing at you or thinking you are crazy?

You have heard, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Well if that isn’t working maybe you should heed the words of W.C. Fields, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”

Try changing your perspective. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Father J. Ronald Knott

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