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  • Writer's pictureTonie Phillips, LMHC

Feeling Stuck? Accept Your Circumstances

In the final episode of my favorite series, The Magicians, the characters were introduced to the idea of accepting one’s personal circumstances in order to effectively complete the task before them. While the specifics of the episode aren’t relevant, the concept is timely as we endeavor to give daily life value amid forced stagnation. As a collective we are asked to be still, cautious, and steadfast in these times. Still, waves of anxiety and depression continue to flow through our homes. People are feeling stuck and overwhelmingly out of flow with their goals and ambitions. 

If words like depression and anxiety feel too severe for your experience, I would ask if any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you.

  • You had a major transition on the horizon before COVID, such as a desire to move, switch jobs, start a family, etc. Now, you cannot see past your immobility and feel stuck/irritated. 

  • You feel restless several days out of the week. You cannot decide what to do with your day, so you do absolutely nothing. At the end of the night you feel drained.

  • You see endless posts about starting a business or a new hobby and feel too disconnected from the flow of forward motion to move into a state of exploration. 

If any of the above resonates with you, I invite you to consider radical acceptance, or in Magicians-speak, accepting your circumstances. These concepts can be defined as the choice to understand and embrace the status of events when they are outside of your control. It seems simple, but once you acknowledge this concept within yourself you prevent discomfort from mutating into suffering. As an old client of mine used to say: it is what it is because it can’t be what it isn’t. 

We expect to possess a basic level of control over our lives. Some people seek a tight grip on their reality while others are equipped to remain in flow. The overthinkers among us have long term plans where disturbances simply do not commute. That’s why this time is such an opportunity to learn flexibility and acceptance. Instead of fixating on what cannot be altered, accept it and control for it! Approach this time with a free spirit and welcome the unknown. Question the idea that everything must be perfectly planned in order for you to forge ahead. Live in a state of confidence that you will be able to take care of any challenge along the way, because you are capable and clear on the moving pieces. Once you’ve switched into that style of thinking, ask questions like...

  • How can I bring beauty into my current environment, both for myself and those around me?

  • How can I give and receive love and care in this time?

  • What opportunities or new beginnings are available to me right now?

  • Am I resting effectively? What activities/routines make me feel rejuvenated?

  • How can I use this time to become more prepared for the next phase of life? 

  • If my life were a novel, what might explain why the pandemic found me at this specific location? Why might I need more time here?

  • Have I thoroughly researched the next step I expected to take? Are there other options and avenues to explore?

When you shift your focus into what you can do within your life space in this time, you may find the sense of control returning to you. But first, you must accept the cage you’re in is labeled perception, not quarantine. 

Let me know in the comments below how you have answered the questions in this article. You never know who you may inspire with your story! 


For no other reason outside of my love of this is a gif!

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Shells J
Shells J
Aug 10, 2020

I really like this question: “If my life were a novel, what might explain why the pandemic found me at this specific location? Why might I need more time here?” Every time I think about where we are today, I hear Barbara Walters say “THIS IS 2020” and I laugh a little to cope. For me personally, this chapter in my novel has placed my life on pause to ask me if I’m sure this is the way I’d like to continue my experience. Think Netflix “Are you Still Watching? “ We’ve covered this in therapy quite a bit; the feeling that I’m living someone else’s life. So if I can pretend for a moment (devastating events aside), that the…


Aug 10, 2020

This is a powerful message for me. I think it gives me necessary next steps that I appreciate in this challenging time.

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