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3 Choices When Your Here & Now Is Intolerable


I was reading a book by Eckhart Tolle titled The Power of Now.  In his book he discussed how to find happiness by living in the moment.  By slowing your life down and not dwelling on the past nor living anxiously wishing for something to happen in the future, you can be content int the current moment.  He shares that we should not let our minds constantly waste time thinking about the past, nor constantly stray into future hopes, thus losing the joy of the current moment.  But sometimes the current moment is not so great either.  Times where we wish we were somewhere else.  When the current moment is not so great, or “intolerable” as Mr. Tolle puts it, then you have three choices:

1.  Remove Yourself From The Situation

If the current situation is so bad, then you can simply remove yourself from it.  Let’s say you are in a heated conversation with your spouse, and you see that this is going down the wrong road…you have the option to walk away for a bit.  You can take a time out.  I remember on the show, How I Met Your Mother, Marshall and Lily would allow each other to take a timeout when things got too heated.  They both respected the time out and would put the problem completely on pause knowing they would come back to it later, which they aways did.

So, if your current here and now is intolerable, you can remove yourself by walking away, taking a drive, or taking a timeout.  You do not have to stick around for a bad situation to get worse.

2.  Change It

If the current situation is not what you want, how can you change it?  Perhaps in an argument with your spouse you realize that what you are fighting over is foolish to begin with.   Perhaps you realize you value the relationship more than being right.  You can concede and let it go.  You always have an option to change the situation.  Now, depending on the situation, your options to change it will vary quite a bit.  Your job is to identify a positive way to change it and make the here and now more tolerable.

3.  Accept It Totally

This can be a tough one, but sometimes we have to accept things the way they are.  There are situations we cannot change or remove ourselves from.  For example, the death of a loved one.  You can’t change it, nor can you remove yourself from it.  The only other choice is to accept it.  Accepting the loss of a loved one doesn’t mean you don’t love them, or are quick to forget them.  It just means you accept that they are gone and now can fully mourn your loss.  The quicker you mourn the loss, the quicker your life can continue, which is what your loved one would want.

Another scenario may involve your child breaking your favorite figurine or vase.  Your first instinct may be to get mad, punish them, or just scream.  I challenge you to pause and think.  No amount of screaming or punishment is going to bring that figurine or vase back.  Accept that it is broken and if need be, punish the child out of love, not anger.  Understand that everything in life is temporary and that the relationship is more important.  Accepting the situation is the best approach.

Final Thoughts

We always want to do our best to live in the current moment and not be consumed by thoughts of the past or desires for the future.  We want to enjoy the current moment, but sometimes the current moment is not enjoyable.  Know that you only have three options here:  remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.  The sooner you can identify the best option, the quicker you can change the current moment into a more pleasurable one.  We can’t control every situation, but we can control how we act and what we do.  Make a good choice and get back to happiness as fast as you can!!!

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