When faced with a less than ideal situation, or even a thoroughly unpleasant one, the greatest gift you can give yourself is a willingness to embrace change.
In practical terms this means you have three choices.
If possible, change the situation. Short of doing harm to yourself, another being, or the environment, get off your duff and engage in whatever actions will bring about change for the better.
If changing the situation is just not practical, distance yourself from the problem’s cause. Issue rules about personal engagement, change your job, get a restraining order, or pack your bags and move to another city. Choose to put either physical or emotional distance between yourself and all the stress inducing events and people.
If neither of the first two choices is even remotely possible, you must embrace change on a completely different level. Now, with every ounce of your being, you must accept things as they are.
Of course this seems like the granddaddy of all futile and worthless ideas, right? Yet as unpalatable as it might be, the alternative is to squander vast amounts of personal energy resisting what you can’t change. And without a doubt, teeth-grinding resistance is the quickest way to increase your existential, emotional, and physical pain.
Ultimately, then, the least self-harming way out of a mess like this is to recognize fully where you are, what’s going on, and then surrender into it. If you also simultaneously seek out and nurture the fleeting moments of goodness whenever and wherever they arise, you’re actively charging the situation with awareness and priming it for spontaneous change.
And if along the way you experience periods of extreme, unremitting provocation, remind yourself of this universal truth: life is in constant flux. What might appear rock-solid and certain today will, in time, lose all solidity and crumble to dust.
In this state of deep acceptance and heightened awareness, you’ll eventually find yourself stumbling on hidden moments of calm. And while at first they might appear fickle and fleeting, they are anything but insignificant. They are instead snippets of time predestined to evolve into expanding spheres of vibrant joy.
And when joy prevails, freedom is but a short step away.