You are where you are, whether you like it or not. So doesn’t it make sense to get comfortable with that? How much energy do you expend wishing that circumstances were different or getting stressed about them? What would change for you if you just decided to accept things as they are?
Some of our greatest internal conflict, suffering or stress can come from the discrepancy between how things are now and how we would like them to be. Or where we are now and where we think we should be or thought we would be. Whether that is professionally, financially, physically, romantically, geographically, with a project, as a person or in any other multitude of ways.
It is this gap between our current reality and our preferred reality that can be the source of emotions such as frustration, discouragement, resentfulness, impatience or sadness.
In fact, if we can step back psychologically and observe our current reality as it is, it may not be quite as bad as it seems at first glance. It may only seem that way because it is not what we expected or would choose.
Tension around ‘now’ can also be exacerbated if at some level (consciously or unconsciously):
- You think that it says something intrinsically bad about you
That you are a failure, are not good enough, are not working hard enough, lack the capacity or personality or skill and so on. By all means examine what’s going on, but be careful of making negative general statements about yourself and of the meaning you give to things. Is it really helping? Be more objective about your situation and your part in it.
- You are comparing yourself to others
For many people, they are actually only unhappy or stressed by ‘now’ because they feel that they are ‘behind’ or in some way inferior to others. Whilst it is natural to measure yourself against your peer group, is it productive or useful to your mindset? Yours is your own journey that unfolds in its own unique time and way. Focus on the next step on your own path. Or, rather than comparing yourself to others unfavourably, learn from them; observe what they do and how they do it. And remember that things are not always as they seem – we all have our own challenges.
- You have a fixed time frame or set of expectations about how and when things should happen
A common source of frustration or disappointment is that things aren’t happening in the way that you had envisioned, when you thought they would or as quickly as you would like them to. Maybe there are actions you can take or changes you can make to speed up a process – so make them. Other things are outside of our control and the unexpected is also certainly part of life. We can only accept and expect the unexpected, and work with current reality.
Essentially, YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE.
Nothing can change that. It may sound obvious and simple, but it’s quite profound if you take a moment to really let it sink in.
It does not even mean that you need to like it or be happy about it – there may be unacknowledged positives in your situation if you look for them, or work / life / today really might suck right now. It’s just the way that it is now though – you will not be there forever. Time will roll on to bring you a new perspective or the opportunity to create something different.
There will be reasons, choices, behaviours and external circumstances that brought you to the present, but they are in the past. You can learn from the past (whether that’s the past few years or hours), but you cannot change it or where it has brought you to in this moment.
Realising that there is no other place you can be is actually very liberating. Resisting the present is stressful, draining and mostly unproductive. Accepting frees up your energy and attention, allowing you to focus more resourcefully on how to move forwards.