You Have No Choice

I wasn't having a good day. Let me tell you about the straw that broke the camel's back: I was in rehearsals for the Decide Show... We were watching a videotape of a previous show. I walked between the TV and VCR and tripped over the wire, almost causing the VCR to fall to the floor. Even though experience has taught me that everyone else probably didn't make anything of it, I still felt terrible.

Sometimes it's not the circumstances in the moment that have us feel bad; it's what the circumstances remind us of. I remembered one day coming home from school. It was very bright outside, so when I got indoors I couldn't see a thing (from 5% down to 0%). Accidentally, I knocked over my dad's drink and he became outraged! Another day, I had tripped over the telephone chord, dropping my lunch on the floor and causing my dad to get disconnected from an important telephone call.

Reminiscing the past, the feeling of `life just not being fair' overwhelmed me. Tears began to pour down my face. On the one hand, I didn't want anyone else in the cast to notice. Then I remembered all the times as a teenager where I was in a room of people, crying, and nobody was noticing or saying anything. My heart started to ache as I listened to the lyrics of "Can I help you stand?"

"I don't know if, I can make it.
I feel so sad, a different life I wish I had.
Nothing seems right, no day, it's all night.
Someone help me, I'm so lonely."

What do you do in these kinds of situations? We have no choice in the circumstances that we are given -- the circumstances cannot be changed. They are the way they are. And our past is the way it is. If we want happiness, we must learn to move on. We have no choice but to continue with life, and deal with whatever life throws our way.

Oh, it's painful. It hurts. That's life. How do you deal with it? Do you talk to someone in your family? Do you cry by yourself? Hey, don't suffer through it -- pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Pain comes from the outside world and suffering usually comes from chatter or the story we make up in our minds. Suffering is dwelling on and recreating the pain. It's that negative chatter in our minds that creates the ongoing negative feelings. So how do we work on that? How do we overcome the battles with that person in our mind?

Talk about it... Get the conversation out of your mind and into the world. What is at the source of the pain? When we distinguish the pain from the suffering, we have the freedom to choose. When we accept the pain for what it is, and become open and expressive about it, the suffering becomes easier and often disappears.

Now, how do we be expressive? How do we talk about it? Ask yourself, why am I feeling so bad? What exactly is it? For me, it wasn't about breaking the VCR or looking foolish in front of my fellow cast members. It was about me displeasing my dad... It was about me not being loved... It was about me feeling inadequate and unaccepted.

There. Just by writing it down, I feel better.

You have no choice in the circumstances that are given to you. But now you are aware of your power to move beyond them, simply by sharing with a friend, being with a pet, or writing in a diary.

"Can I lend you, a hand today
Can I help you, find a better way
Can I love you, can I show you
Can I make you know a better you?

Can I help you stand, can I be your fan
Can we cross the land, can we understand
Can we touch the sand, can we make a plan
Can I help you breathe again?"

Author's Bio: 

Simple words. Relatable stories. Powerful inspiration.

Danish Ahmed is a performer, motivational speaker and best-selling author of "A Dictionary of Distinctions"

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