Out of Control

Remember being a teenager? They expended a lot of effort trying to teach us how to be efficacious human beings.

One of the tools I recall was the circles of control. Basically, you envision yourself in the center of a circle of things that you can control: your reactions to other people, what you make yourself for lunch, how far you run in your morning workout. Outside them is another concentric circle of things not in your control: the weather, the stock market, who wins the Republican primaries, etc.

The line between these two circles is a fuzzy gray are full of things like job interviews and personal health. If you have wide circle of control, it includes much of these gray areas; if you have a narrow circle, it doesn’t.

I was up late one night feeling a little depressed about what one friend refers to as my romantic life. And then I thought: why am I even thinking about this? There’s so much else in my life that requires concern that I can actually do something about, why am I obsessing over this particular lacking?

Because there’s a limit to how much you can do to get yourself married. You can learn how to dress and act. You can learn what to say and what not to say on a date. You can take hundred-dollar photographs to attach to your shidduch profile. You can even learn how to gaze demurely up through your eyelashes while breathlessly clinging to every word that your date says. But ultimately, you can’t force anyone to marry you.

Maybe I’ve been carrying the whole dating thing too far into my circle of control. Maybe it’s time to admit that while I’ve done a whole lot, I can’t force the process.

Maybe it’s time to just let it go, and treat it like the weather, the stock market, and politics: something to deal with when it happens.

Maybe it’s time to just live without it.

Maybe all that’s easier said than done.


11 thoughts on “Out of Control

  1. That’s the whole concept of hishtadlus: doing your part, but comprehending that some things are out of your hands. That’s what drives me batty – when people tell me to go here and do that and call this one – I have done what I can. I acknowledge that if there is something called bashert, then he’s not going to show up just because of my efforts. I have to let go.

    And I have been incredibly cheerful for the past few years with that outlook.

  2. But ultimately, you can’t force anyone to marry you.

    Haven’t you turned down some guys, maybe even some proposals? Obviously you have standards. If you just wanted to be married, I’m sure you could be married by now.

  3. What is “slight” hishtadlus anyway? That is a question for a rabbi and or a rebbtizin you have a close relationship with to help you decide Yes and that does imply you should have someone like that which most people do not.

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