When times are tough we almost always look outside to take some action. Yet it’s often an inner adjustment that’s needed first.
Let’s take a look at what’s happening within, when times are tough.
Have you ever faced circumstances, such as growing debt, demanding creditors, major life disappointments or conflicts that are so big it’s hard to see anything else? Yet that’s what we need to do. We need to look at anything other than that big scary reality that’s blocking our vision.
What we focus on expands. What we give our attention to we get more of. What we look at, whether it is pleasing or upsetting, becomes our focus point of expansion. Even what we resist persists because we are giving it our attention.
Worry, complaint, blame and doubt are powerful forces of resistance that tend to keep us stuck within the very situations we wish to be free of. Yet there is always a way out and it always comes from within first.
Here’s the most effective inner adjustments I can offer. I found it in Eckhart Tolle’s excellent book, The Power of Now.
In all situations, you only have four choices, and the first one is not a positively productive one.
- You can resist, complain or deny, and remain stuck within the situation.
- You can remove yourself from the situation.
- You can work with others to change it.
- You can accept it.
That’s it. There are no other choices.Many times when coaching a client out of very stressful circumstances, they refuse to select options 2, 3, or 4. That means that by default they have chosen to remain in a prison of their own making. Because if we choose not to accept, change or remove ourselves from a situation we are stuck solidly within resistance.
Why blame is resistance.
No matter who’s at fault, you are responsible.Blaming others is a barrier between you and your effectiveness. When we are blaming, we are not looking at our own contribution to the situation. When we are blaming, we have, in effect, become victims – powerless to improve the situation until someone else changes first. Here’s a core truth worth adopting. If you are aware of a problem, it’s at least partially yours to correct. If it’s happening to you, no matter who appears to be at fault, you are at least partially responsible (for the advanced class, try this on: holding yourself as 100% responsible gives you 100% power in the situation). Instead of finger-pointing and whining when you see a problem, always ask these questions:
- What can I do?
- What else can I do?
- What else?
Write down your answers, discuss them, make a decision and take some action. And please don’t think that acceptance is a weak decision. It’s often the strongest.
Acceptance is not agreement. It is simply your recognition that for now, you just won’t fight it. There are no other choices. Opportunity comes directly from clarity of decision and action. By deciding which of the three positive choices you are making, you increase the likelihood of greater opportunity – because you have lessened resistance.
Then you can apply a relief formula that always works:
Gratitude + Less Resistance = Increased Opportunity
Recognizing and appreciating one’s blessings gives you greater strength. What you’re grateful for may be relationships, internal talents and abilities or external positive conditions. By simply focusing on a sunny day, health or any part of your life experience that feels good, you’ll begin to turn the tides in your favor.
Remember – whatever we focus on we get more of.
In all things, you have a choice as to how you’ll respond. You can resist by hoping that another person or condition will change or you can choose to work the formula on your own behalf.