Have you heard people say, “Well Under The Circumstances, what did you expect me to do?!”

The sentence is duly attended by a martyred air as if you ought to go down on your knees in respectful admiration and  abject reverence. Can’t you see that the person was being victimized by malevolent circumstances? How crass and blind!

I suppose I am cold and unfeeling. I’ve never had the organ with which to acquire the sympathy expected by those suffering Under The Circumstances. There have been times, in my early days when I hadn’t yet become a saint, when I’ve tersely advised such people to get out from Under The Circumstances– on their hand and knees if need be. What were they doing, sitting under them? Can’t be any fun, surely?

Life will push you down at times. Sometimes you would jump back up in a trice and sometimes you won’t feel like moving for a while. But to stay down there and give permanence to a transitory event? It would give you a crick in the neck, staying trapped Under The Circumstances thing.

No, that’s not my scene at all.

To me it’s like sitting under the table and saying, “Hey look, I’m under the table!” Of course you are under the table, sunshine! Get out from under it! Don’t you know how silly you look? Or are you expecting the table to oblige you by moving away of its own accord? That’s hardly possible, is it? Moreover, why should it care?

Maybe you are hoping that some kind hand will release you from your captivity? I’m sorry to burst your bubble but hope is not really a strategy in such situations. There’s about a one in a million chance that the table will move away by itself or that someone will help you. By and large, the bulk of humanity has to crawl out from under on its own steam. True story.

The table might be frighteningly enormous but mere size means nothing. The table is powerless to keep you trapped in that position. If you decide to come out, do you expect the table to be able to stop you? That’s laughable, isn’t it?

Your voluntary acceptance keeps you imprisoned. You wear the hand-cuffs and walk into the prison yourself. There you sit, without a lock on the door, waiting for God knows what! Meanwhile you announce to anyone who’ll listen that life has treated you shamefully. Come, Come! This shoddy alibi is not worthy of you! This won’t work!

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

~Viktor E. Frankl

Your circumstances may have enough power to knock you down but not enough to keep you there. They certainly haven’t enough to rule your life. They are a temporary nuisance; a cheeky impertinence. Their power is derived from your permission to let them paralyze you into inaction. They are impotent without your consent; they are feeble against your will; they are defenceless against your determination.

To be Under The Circumstances is the most comfortable thing in the world. It lets you off the hook and gives you a wonderful excuse for not being up and doing. It’s like taking off a very tight pair of shoes after they’ve been killing your feet for the whole day. You wriggle your toes and relax. To the world you can happily declare, “You see, Under The Circumstances…

The man who gets on in this world is one who, if he doesn’t like his circumstances, goes out and creates his own

~ G.B. Shaw

If your circumstances are preventing you from reaching your goals, create the ones you want. If the circumstances you face cannot be surmounted, perhaps they can be CIRCUMstances-NAVIGATED. If you can’t go through a problem, can you go around, over or under it?

There are times when you’ve tried all you can think of but you remain shackled. Perhaps you are ensnared by events beyond your control. At such times, you must sit still and let the universe move the strings it needs to move in order to extricate you from your prison.

Unfortunately, a perceived blockade can seem as valid as a real one. In both, the challenge seems to be governed by factors beyond your control. Naturally, that complicates matters a lot. You must know which is which; whether you are legitimately helpless or are just being a silly goose (or worse, a lazy bum).

The only way I can make out a real barrier from an imaginary one is by honestly projecting my situation onto someone else. If I see that the person is letting their fears stop them from defeating the challenge, then I know I am doing it too. The ruse works very well most times.

However, if you see that you must wait for things to sort themselves out, there is no reason why you should not stay alert and vigilant. You can be ready to grab a way out from Under The Circumstances as it tries to swish past you on silent wings.

Then you can again stand straight and tall!

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Under the Circumstances