The Only Options: Change / Accept / Leave

Image Credit: JM Lova on Unsplash


In any situation, the only options are CHANGE, ACCEPT or LEAVE, because anything else is self-abuse.

What does that mean?

In an unpleasant situation, we only have the following three options:
  • We can try to change the situation.
  • We can choose to accept the situation.
  • We can decide to leave the situation.
Now the caveats to the above:

Change: Trying to change the situation means trying to change the elements of the situation which are within our control to change. Changing the people in the situation is NOT in our control, we cannot force people to change, so if us being happy in the situation involves us trying to change someone else, this is doomed to fail. (I promise you as someone who's tried, it's not going to work long term.)

Accept: This means that we accept the situation exactly as it is. But I mean, EXACTLY. Not moving forward and thinking "Well maybe if I accept - or appear to accept - the situation, then this person will be motivated to change for me." Nope, that's not acceptance, it's manipulation; they will not change. If we stay in the situation, then we're accepting it with the understanding that it may never be any different than it is right now. That is acceptance; saying "I don't like this, but I am making a conscious choice to continue living with it."

Leave: This means we've attempted to change what we could in the situation (not another person, but only what WE can control) and the change has failed. We find ourselves unable to accept the situation exactly as it is, because it's truly unacceptable to us. So the only option is to leave.


Because anything else is self-abuse.

Staying in a situation trying desperately to change it because we're unable to accept it but are refusing to leave is a one-way ticket to our own personal hell. (And creates a hellish scenario for the others in the situation.)

How can I say that with such certainty?

Because I've been riding that hell-train most of my life. I've spent my life trying to get my family to change, because I couldn't accept their treatment of me, but I refused to leave the abusive situation.

Image Credit: Ankush Minda on Unsplash

I broke my own heart and destroyed my spirit in the process because I refused to accept what was there.

Second chances are fine.

But at the 500th chance, maybe we have to say to ourselves "Gee, you know I think that's just who this person is."

We take things personally though, and we think that people are doing something to us. But they're not. They're just being themselves.

Where have you allowed your heart to be broken by refusing to accept the truth about someone?

We need to face the reality of any situation instead of living in la-la land. But I lived in la-la land where my family was concerned; even when they made me feel inadequate.

I literally spent my entire life trying to change myself - to make myself adequate - but no matter what I did, they never changed. There were moments - moments that gave me hope and caused me to let my guard down - but then it was right back to the same old behaviour. And I would be angry all over again.

But it wasn't their fault, it was mine. They showed me who they were again and again and I refused to accept it, but I also refused to leave.

I stayed in a situation hoping that other people would change.

Any situation we're in where we're sitting around waiting for other people to change is a situation that we need to get out of because spoiler alert: THEY. WILL. NOT. CHANGE.

The hardest thing I've ever done in my life (and I've done many difficult things) is to walk away from my family.

Why was that hard? Because well, family.

But also because the death of hope is truly the end of a thing.

Where there is hope, there is life.

Where there is no hope, there is no life.

In any relationship, when the hope is extinguished - when we see people for who they are and accept that they will not change but also accept that we cannot accept the situation and must leave - then the relationship is over.

Where there is no hope, there is no life.

It is what it is.

It's ok to take the time to mourn the loss of the hope for the thing that was never to be.

But then we move on and use our hopefulness on more likely situations, and on people who have shown themselves worthy of our hope.

CHANGE, ACCEPT or LEAVE, because anything else is self-abuse.*

Image Credit: JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

* (This is a concept I heard from Eckhart Tolle.)


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