A Sure Way Out of the Darkest Times

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.

  1. You can resist, complain or deny, and remain stuck within the situation.
  2. You can remove yourself from the situation.
  3. You can work with others to change it.
  4. 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.


  1. I was happy to see acceptance was considered a strong choice. It certainly isn’t an easy one, as in “giving in”. Surrender can be very powerful. “When we fight a block it grows stronger. When we. acknowledge, experience, and accept it, it begins to melt.” — Nathaniel Branden ..Sometimes identifying the block is the tricky part….

  2. Victoria,

    Often acceptance, although difficult, is the wisest way to go. When we accept we acknowledge that we see a better investment for our energy. When I accept something I’m not giving in or giving up in anyway. In fact I’m standing strong by making the decision to disagree without any loss of face or energy. I’m just not letting the other person or situation get to me. It feels powerful to be that wise. I’m happy you can see that.

    As for identifying blocks, that can be a wild goose chase as well. I don’t think our identification of a block needs to be accurate. Who cares what it is? We made it up anyway so it can dissolve as soon as we’re willing to choose another state of being. And that other state of being often begins with the simple choice to feel better.

  3. Interesting post, thanks Tom for the reminder not to blame. Its so easy to slip back into that!!

  4. Welcome Brian, yes it is easy to slip back into the old blaming habit. I’m grateful that eventually it becomes almost automatic to accept full responsibility. Then one has to beware of the tendency to beat oneself up too much. I guess that’s why they call it personal growth. 🙂

  5. John Morlan says:


    Your post, A Sure Way Out of the Darkest Times
    struck a chord with me. As did Victoria’s comment
    and quote from Branden, “ .. accept the block and
    it begins to melt.”

    Michael Neill in his book, “You Can Have What You Want”
    supposes that if what we are really after is Happiness,
    then why don’t we just start there.

    After much pondering, it dawned on me that maybe
    there is a practical way to apply that principle. Here’s
    an example –

    I am unhappy (angry, frustrated, etc.) about debt.
    As of early this morning, I am choosing to be happy
    about it – perhaps my means of ‘accepting’ it. Well,
    it’s grip on me almost immediately lessened and
    now seems to be quite weak.

    If this makes little sense, I understand. But, what
    I am experiencing is that if what I really want is to
    be happy, being unhappy and pissed about having
    debt is not going to make me happy,

    So, I am happy. Period.

    Realization: Debt is not something that I can pick
    up and put in my wheelbarrow. It is not tangible.
    Rather, it is an imaginary foe that can be tamed
    or defeated by my insistence that it is in fact ok.

    I’m choosing to be happy while I am in debt vs.
    waiting to be happy when I am out of debt.
    This ‘happy-factor’ is functioning like a tuning fork.
    Its powerful positive vibrations are bringing more
    of what I want into my life and less of what I don’t want.

    I am experiencing the Law of Attraction in action
    by loving what is instead of despising it. Happy
    is a conscious choice.

    That conscious choice, the ‘acceptance’ of the
    thing, is making it melt! And, bringing a whole
    lot of other nice things along for the ride.


  1. […] a big believer in accepting what is. But we can also be smart and remove ourselves from the presence of people and situations that are not good for […]

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