Eckhart Tolle wrote:
Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.
Thinking back to our old life, I used to feel really tortured at times, which made me feel sorry for myself, which then made me feel even worse. Those feelings used to then make me feel guilty, as there were are so many people who would’ve given their right arm to have our life. It’s so easy to see how people can go into a downward spiral. Thoughts like ‘if only I had this or that, or if only I were there, then I’d be happy’ probably resonate with a lot of people.
So looking at Eckhart’s three choices, obviously we chose option number 1! These options can be applied to each and every situation we find ourselves in that we don’t like – an uncomfortable meeting at work, a hard training session at the gym, or your entire life! Removing yourself from the situation could be seen as giving up or running away. I prefer to see it as ensuring your own continued happiness.
So did we make the right choice, and are we happy with what we did? Hell yes! A friend told me last night that I look younger every time she speaks to me! I’ll take that compliment!
There is more awareness now for mental health than ever before – how employers, family and friends should spot when people are in trouble and offer help. Of course, I totally agree with this, but at the end of the day, our mental well being must be our own responsibility first and foremost. Once we realise there is a problem, that’s when we do need the help, support and understanding of our friends and family to back the choices we make for solving the problem.
When things get really bad it can be difficult to even recognise where you are, and even when you do, it can seem impossible to try and fathom how to get out of it. Having these three choices really simplifies everything. This is also why it’s so important to live in the present – we can do nothing to change what has happened in the past, and the future hasn’t happened yet, and do there is only now.
Be the watcher of your own mind – of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to reactEckhart Tolle
Following this advice, to watch your own mind, helps you to see clearly when there is a problem.
The worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is nothing. There’s a saying – if things don’t change, they stay the same. If you can’t change the external thing that’s happening to you, then you must change yourself – either by accepting what’s happening, or by removing yourself.
I don’t like the word suffering, and try hard not to use it … I’m suffering from backache or ‘my’ backache – when you use these words, you’re owning the problem or illness, and it therefore becomes an integrated part of you. We can get over lots of minor physical illnesses by having a positive attitude towards the ailment – try it next time you have a cold – tell it to ‘f off!’!
When you are struggling with unhappiness as opposed to a physical illness, it’s somewhat harder not to own it, but it’s so important to stand back, try and look at the situation objectively, and then decide what to do.
When I was back in the UK last year I spent a lovely evening with my son – just us two on our own, talking until 3am. He shocked me when he told me I was his hero. I asked him why on earth he though that – his answer ‘whenever you have a problem, Mum, you just sort it out’. I’ll never forget him telling me that. And if I can do it, then anyone can.
So, my final words of advice – doing nothing is far more scary than doing something. Don’t be afraid to admit there’s a problem and ask for help. If it’s work related, take some time off – sleep, meditate, look after yourself, and put yourself in a position where you can decide which option to take, and when you make your decision, own it completely.