Play The Hand You’re Dealt. Lessons In Living.


We’ve all heard it. From our parents, teachers, and well meaning friends who always have all the answers to everything. ‘You have to play the hand you’re dealt.’ The sentiment comes in many variations and I have historically lumped them all together. Use what you’ve got to get what you want, bloom where you’re planted, and the ever popular ‘when life gives you lemons…’

When You Think You Understand But You Don’t

Until today, I thought I had a full understanding of the cards concept. I thought I was a master at making the best of a bad situation and having lemonade to spare. But now I realize I had it all wrong. ‘Bad situations’ and the lemonade making are about judging your circumstances. Playing the hand you’re dealt is not about that. At. All. It’s about acceptance. Acceptance of circumstances is the most powerful tool in my Life Skills Toolbox and here’s why. Without acceptance of what is, I am only creating disharmony and unhappiness in the right now. And the right now is all there is. By wishing things to be different, I’m creating a sense of longing. Constant longing is draining and it is the surest route to misery.

The saying goes: happiness is wanting what you have.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Playing Cards, Jack, Queen and King - How to play the hand you're dealt
We only have one hand to play, so be sure to play the hand you’re dealt.

Playing the hand you’re dealt is about using what you already have, using the things you’ve been given. Wishing that you had it differently or whining about how unfair your life is only serves to take away your power. The fact is, your life isn’t different. It is what it is and the sooner you accept that, the better off you’ll be.

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Life Lesson: Accepting What Is

Seeing things as they are and not how you want them to be is deeply liberating. Think about it. How much smoother would your life run if you accepted your mate for who he is and not for the man you envision he could become with your expert tutelage? How much more expansive would your view of your world be if you accepted your parents for who they are? Accepted their faults, strengths and everything they did to ‘screw you up’ all with the full knowledge that they did what they could with what they had and it couldn’t have been any different? And that you, therefore, couldn’t have been any different?

For one thing, that kind of acceptance would end the treachery of ‘woe is me.’ It also stops the ‘if only’ in its tracks and instantly frees your energy to do something you actually want to do to make your life look and feel more like you actually want it to look and feel.

New York-based Lifestyle Blogger Patranila Jefferson | The Patranila Project

Play the hand you’re dealt. These are your cards, this is your reality and thus, these are your choices. You can’t play with things that aren’t available to you. Mary Jane’s cards are not yours, her pair of aces can’t help you. If you’re too busy wishing you could snag those aces, you could easily miss the opportunity to capitalize on that inside straight you’re already building.

Play the hand you’re dealt. It’s the only way to win.

More From My Heart to Yours


  1. I googled, “How to play the cards that life has dealt to you?” and this popped up and clarified it so simply and easily. I’m sorry I’m so late to this party.

    1. Patranila says:

      I’m glad you found this when you needed it. You’re not late at all!

  2. This is totally true.. not to stress the things in life you can't fix, shoulda woulda coulda's.. That's why I'm as laid back as I am.. less stress the better

  3. Playing the hand you're dealt with is as simple as going through a list of all the things you need in order to live and realizing you have much more! This is why I don't tend to wallow in any situations because I always feel like I have so much to be grateful for in live.

  4. This is so true! It's such a waste of energy to ponder what could have been. It's better to really get to know what is and then live with what you have, many times it's so much better than what you were hoping for!

  5. Oh gosh! This is so true! It is only recently that I've realized just how happy I really am. I have no complaints because I have everything I want. 🙂

  6. Very eye opening perspective. I never thought about it like that.

    Diane N.

  7. accepting the real things and be contented for what we have is what i always do. of course we're only human we tempt to things that we cant have but we have to be on focus

  8. A lot of people aren't happy with what they have until they lose it. It's also true that many people don't know what they have until it's gone.

  9. It is so much more fulfilling to accept what you have in your life and not envy what others have.

  10. Great advice. That helped me a lot a few years ago when I saw my siblings living lavish lifestyles and I wasn't. It finally occurred to me that it wasn't what I wanted anyhow. I was content to live a simple life!

  11. Love Your Way Of Thinking This Is So True Thank You For Your Words Of Advice!

  12. That's true, we should work with we have and make the most out of it.

  13. That is so true. I am trying to deal with my cards everyday. But I like the shuffling the deck idea! 🙂

    Michelle F.

  14. I am with Kung Phoo, my cards are always changing too. I like your happiness quote. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I play my hands daily.. and every day the cards change. I am waiting to see when i get that royal flush!

  16. I like this, thanks for sharing. So often people look at what everyone else has and doesn't appreciate what they have. Your perspective and attitude can completely change everything!

  17. Someone once told me that didn't regret anything they had done in their life. I thought that was really strange as I regret many things I've done. But, she told me that if she hadn't done some of the things in her life, wrong or not, she wouldn't be the person she is today. And that she was happy with how she is and that's why she regrets nothing.

    1. Yes. Regret, like guilt, is a waste of energy. Better to appreciate it all!

  18. This is so true, and it is so crazy how things can change. If you would have talked to be a year and a half ago, I would have been depressed, and in one of the darkest places I've ever been. Now it's the complete opposite.

  19. Great thoughts. So, setting goals could be focused on leveraging and building on what's true rather than pursuing what's missing. Love it. Thanks. Your blog has become one of my favourites.

  20. True KZ. And you know what else? The grass is greener where you water it!

  21. Agreed. Maybe the grass IS greener on the other side, but look at what's on your side! Who decided green grass was all that anyways?

  22. Glad you stopped by Purple Dreamer! And yes, thank you NaBloPoMo! Good stuff.

  23. I never thought about judgement and acceptance being opposites, but it sounds like that's what they are? Or at least it's making a bit of sense to me that they would be. If I'm judging anything (circumstance/situation/person) I'm choosing not to accept them for who/what they are.

    Interesting. Glad I stumbled upon your blog! Thank you NaBloPoMo!

  24. I like it when the cards are shuffled and dealt again. Then I get a new hand to deal with 🙂

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