There may be times in our lives when we throw up our hands and say, “I didn’t sign on for this!” It’s normal to have a pity party when things don’t go as planned. When the pouting is done, there are three things you can do. Deal with it anyway, walk away, or blame and complain.

So what types of things can make us say, “I didn’t sign up for this”? Here are some examples.

  • your child is born with special needs
  • your partner leaves you
  • domestic violence
  • you or your partner contracts a debilitating illness
  • you or your partner gains a lot of weight
  • natural disaster strikes
  • you get fired
  • you or your partner has a mental breakdown
  • infidelity
  • your child causes expensive damage to someone else’s property
  • you or your partner goes to jail
  • addiction

Nobody willingly signs up for these things. They may or may not be a result of our choices, but nobody says, “Let’s see how I can make my life really hard.” When surprises hit, it doesn’t matter who is at fault. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is something that you wanted. It has to be dealt with anyway.

This is your life. Only you can decide what your limits are. It’s up to you to say if you’re going to face life as it comes or walk away. Life is not fair. You may not “deserve” what’s happening, but you still have to do something about it.

To think otherwise is to get on a hamster wheel of your own creation and run in place. Lots of people would rather do this than make a decision. If this is you, know that you are avoiding moving forward.

Figure out what you need to move forward. Do you need skills? Support? Money? Clarity? Courage? More information? Blaming and complaining is disempowering. Figuring out what you need puts you in the driver’s seat again.

If all we got was what we wanted or asked for, life would be boring. This thing that you didn’t sign up for could be your biggest blessing. It could be the thing that shows you what you are made of. Challenges make us stronger and solidify our values.

So act from your values. You can never go wrong when you are congruent with your values. Whether you accept the challenge or say “no, thank you,” you’re living in the stream of life.