Don’t demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.
This is the key to everything.
Not changing situations, but changing your perspective on them.
Not changing your environment, but changing your perspective on it.
What would happen if you chose to believe that everything that happens, happens for your benefit in some way?
You do not even have to believe that God or the Universe or anything else is always making sure you best interests are met, but you can choose to believe that no matter what, you can take whatever is in front of you and make it yours.
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it.”
We can rarely control our circumstances, but we can always control our thoughts about those circumstances. We can always choose our perspective. This idea is nothing new, and it’s not mine, but it is one that people have intuitively arrived at generation after generation, and it has served them well.
If your marriage is falling apart, it can be a debilitating slide into misery or it can be an opportunity for you to be a better spouse or to develop your own interests and hobbies or to learn acceptance and peace.
If your kid is making terrible choices and screwing up their life, it can be a soul-crushing descent into misery and self-pity, or it can be an opportunity to show them a better way to live and how to be the person you would like them to be. It can be an opportunity to take the things you could do better and do them better. It’s an opportunity to join with them, to figure out what is going wrong and help them make it better.
If you get fired it is an opportunity to start something better. A bad boss is an opportunity to move on or to learn to be content in difficult circumstances. Toxic people are opportunities to learn to draw boundaries, illness is an opportunity to show yourself compassion or to work on doing what you need to do even when you feel bad. Chronic pain is an opportunity to learn nonjudgment.
These are chosen perspectives, and our chosen perspective is all that matters.
This doesn’t mean you won’t have moments of sadness or despair, life will throw things at you that your aren’t ready for.
But, the second you become conscious of your ability to choose your perspective everything can change.
Every situation has the potential for growth and evolution as a human being if we are willing to dig for it.
Finding the right perspective even gets easier and easier over time, until it becomes almost automatic.
Rejecting what is beyond our control is suffering.
Embracing what is beyond our control turns struggle into contentment and suffering into growth.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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