At some point, you’ll find yourself in an impossible situation.
Maybe, you’re facing it right now.
You don’t know what to do and can’t let go of worry and fear.
It’s precisely these moments when we need guidance to help us find a way out.
The good news is you always have three options to overcome challenges in life, and one of them will always work for you.
I first learned about them from the book The Power of Now, written by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle.
#1. The first thing you need to try
Every day we face a number of different situations. Most of them can be unpleasant or downright intolerable.
We all have different ways of dealing with them, but very often, we do nothing and repress our feelings. This builds up over time and causes stress.
Eckhart Tolle teaches us that the first thing we can is to try to change the situation, if possible.
But the action shouldn’t come from the place of negativity. It should come from a clear understanding of where you are and what choices you have at this very moment to overcome challenges.
Action arising out of insight into what is required is more effective than action arising out of negativity. — Eckhart Tolle
#2. If the first one doesn’t work
If you tried to change the situation, but nothing worked, then consider the second option — to remove yourself from it.
For example, how often do you find yourself arguing with someone who is clearly not going to change their mind?
When you catch yourself in this unconscious behavior, take a step back, and reconsider everything. Then walk away if you feel that nothing you say or do will result in a positive outcome.
Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing. — Eckhart Tolle
#3. The hardest of the three
Sometimes we are trapped in a situation that we have absolutely no control of.
That means you can’t do anything to change the situation or remove yourself from it.
It’s the point of complete surrender and acceptance of what is. But don’t confuse it with giving up.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that you resign yourself and say, “It’s all pointless.” On the contrary, you accept this moment without complaining or judging.
You allow your inner stillness to manifest fully and, by doing so, regain peace and clear your mind.
The false, unhappy self that loves feeling miserable, resentful, or sorry for itself can then no longer survive. This is called surrender. Surrender is not weakness. There is great strength in it. Only a surrendered person has spiritual power. Through surrender, you will be free internally of the situation. You may then find that the situation changes without any effort on your part. In any case, you are free. — Eckhart Tolle
#4. The one thing you want to avoid doing
Right now, you might be asking, “What if I don’t like any of these three options?”
Well, that’s a fair question, and the answer can help you make up your mind.
If you don’t want to change the situation, walk away, or accept it, then the only option you have is to suffer.
That’s what happens to most of us when we try to overcome challenges in life. And it doesn’t matter how big or small the problems are. In the end, they all add up and result in what we call unhappiness.
I remember Eckhart Tolle mentioning this fourth option during one of his talks and immediately thought, “That’s what I have been doing for the most of my life.”
Choose the Right Option Today
Whenever you hear a critical voice in your head that can’t forgive or compromise, always remember about the three options you have.
Don’t let your thoughts and emotions take over and practice being an impartial observer of the situation.
Remember, you can always change, leave, or accept any challenging situation. The only other choice is suffering.
I believe you can make the right choice.