Maybe, some of us are facing it right now.
We 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 we always have three options to overcome challenges in life, and one of them will always work for us.
I first learned about them from the book The Power of Now, written by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle.
In this post, I want to share these three powerful ways to deal with any obstacles that life puts before us.
#1. The first thing we 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 we are and what choices we 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.
#2. If the first one doesn’t work
If we tried to change the situation, but nothing worked, then we should consider the second option — to remove ourselves from the situation.
For example, how often do we find ourselves arguing with someone who is clearly not going to change their mind?
When we notice this unconscious behavior, we need to take a step back, and reconsider everything. Then walk away if we feel that nothing we 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.
#3. The hardest of the three
Sometimes we are trapped in a situation that we have absolutely no control of.
That means we can’t do anything to change the situation or walk away from it.
It’s the point of complete surrender and acceptance of __what is__. But we shouldn’t confuse it with giving up.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that we surrender and say, “It’s all pointless.” On the contrary, we accept this moment without complaining or judging.
We allow our inner stillness to manifest fully and, by doing so, regain peace and clear our minds.
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.
#4. The one thing we want to avoid doing
Right now, some of us 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 us make a decision.
If we don’t want to change the situation, walk away, or accept it, then the only option we 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 most of my life.”
Choosing the Right Option Today
Whenever we hear a critical voice in our heads that can’t forgive or compromise, we need to remember about the three options we have.
We do not let our thoughts and emotions take over and practice being impartial observers of the situation.
We can always change, leave, or accept any challenging situation. The only other choice is suffering. I believe we can make the right choice.