Revisiting the Circle of Concern
Recently, many people have expressed concern over shot-down balloons in or around the United States (U.S.), apparently of Chinese origin. Originally claimed to be associated with a surveillance program, it has since been announced that they weren’t state-sponsored spy craft gear.
Personally, I’m not inclined to believe the U.S. government or legacy media sources reporting on the matter. Nonetheless, I think a more efficient way of acquiring intelligence is through use of smartphones, social media apps, and likewise. Who knows?
Still, no one asked what I thought and to be honest, what I have to say regarding the issue matters very little. Perhaps the more interesting topic worthy of my consideration is how such matters impact my clients.
Circle of concern
I work with people by inviting them to consider their powerlessness regarding control and influence over the majority of matters experienced in life. Previously, I addressed this topic in a blogpost entitled Circle of Concern.
Therein, I addressed the outer circle of concern by saying, “Think of natural disasters, traffic patterns in a foreign country, past events, or the person on the other side of town who’s chewing with his mouth open right now.” We have no command or impact on such matters.
Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I challenge my clients’ irrational beliefs which may suggest we have more control than we actually do. Consider for yourself whether or not you have the ability to affect the following matters:
· The allegation of the U.S. having destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline, which could be considered an act of war against Russia
· Whether or not Chinese balloons constitute provocation
· North Korea’s threat to take action against the U.S. for participating in military drills with South Korea
· War between Russia and Ukraine, which for some reason the U.S. has devoted more than $100 billion to fund a reported proxy war between the U.S., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Russia
· A death toll of 41,000 people who perished in recent earthquake activity in Turkey and Syria
· A train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio that will likely have devastating effects on people and the environment, due to reported toxic chemicals carried on the train
In actuality, there is likely little you could do to control or influence these events. Though you may disturb yourself regarding these matters, you cannot change the outcome. These are circle of concern matters.
Making healthy use of my personal and professional time, I practice unconditional life-acceptance. By accepting that I have no ability to alter matters in the circle of concern, even though I may care for those impacted by events within the sphere, I tolerate and accept my powerlessness.
In doing so, I am able to focus my resources towards issues over which I may have influence (i.e., clients) and control (e.g., myself). This isn’t a selfish act, though one of self-care.
I remain uncertain about unidentified flying objects, unmanned aerial vehicles, or balloons floating over the U.S. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll wait to see if anything changes if or when the Fire Nation attacks.
At that point, there’ll be a different conversation unfolding than the one reflected herein. Until then, I focus on that which I can control or influence.
Do you find that you’re overly concerned with matters beyond your ability to change? Would you like to know more about how to take a healthier approach to life?
If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.
As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.
At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!
Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
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