When What You Have Isn’t What You Want

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We’ve all been there. In situations we’ve made from our own doing, or in situations dictated by circumstances we haven’t chosen–We desperately want something different than what we’ve been dealt. Or at minimum would like to alter our circumstances a bit to make life a little more comfortable.

I’ve been here myself, and it sucks. If you’ve waded into or treaded these waters, I’m sure you’ll agree. But, there is some good news: You don’t have to be miserable.

In most* situations, what you have isn’t what you want, you’ve got 3 choices:

1) Change Something.

If you don’t like something, Don’t sit around and complain about it. There’s a lot of stuff in our lives that we can change. Big stuff and small stuff.

If you aren’t good at changing things, start with the little things and get some experience. Anytime you find yourself complaining about something. Do whatever you can to change it.

  • Noisy neighbors in the hotel room you’ve been assigned?Ask to move.
  • Hate your job? Polish your resume .
  • Afraid to leave a relationship you should have gotten out of a long time ago? Start the conversation.
  • Don’t like the way your kids act since they turned into teenagers? Well, you probably shouldn’t give them away. (Keep Reading)

Even a small step in the direction of change, has the power to propel you into forward motion.

2) Choose Contentment

Unfortunately, we can’t change everything we don’t like. Sometimes we just have to live with it. But what can you do with the things you cannot dismiss or give away?

Enter contentment. You must change the way you think about it and experience it.

Now, I realize to most people “choosing contentment” sounds like an awful option—it seems like a fancy way to say, learn to live with it, pretend you’re happy, and stop hoping things could be different.

I’d be lying if I didn’t agree with this a little bit, but the trick to contentment is recognizing that is it a practice, not a solution. Contentment is like yoga or meditation–you will suck at it some days, probably most days, and that’s okay. It’s not about fixing yourself or fixing anything. It’s about learning to be at ease in your situation.

3) Wallow in Complacency

Option three when what you have isn’t what you want, is to do nothing. Seriously, people, this really shouldn’t ever be a choice. But I put it here because it is the default that I choose so often (and perhaps you too).

When you really should change something but you just don’t have the chutzpah, time, energy, or [insert your own excuse here], this is what you are actually choosing. If it’s a circumstance that isn’t exactly changeable, but you’d rather be miserable and let everyone else know it than work on your contentment practice, you have picked door number three. Woe is you.

This stuff isn’t easy my friend. We all have baggage and we must choose wisely basing our decisions on our own motives, circumstances, and options we are presented.

What’s it going to be? The choice is yours.


** Note: I say most situations here, because life sometime throws us really big stuff like death, tragedy, abuse, disaster, and long-term stuff that we can’t change as much as we’d like more than anything to have a magic wand to reverse. Please know that I’m not suggesting changing your attitude as a fix to any of these situations. If these types of scenarios are what you’re experiencing check out the work of Megan Devine at Refuge in Grief.

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