The homepage of my website states, “Life is full of unexpected twists and turns.” Let’s first off say that nobody wishes the difficulty and struggle that comes with some of these life situations. Some of these moments are incredibly painful and traumatic. That’s reality, and in no way is this blog meant to downplay the significance of these events.
Perhaps it’s a health or financial issue, a thought that is having trouble leaving your mind, an emotion that keeps coming up to the surface, or loss of someone close to us. Maybe you didn’t get that job offer, someone backed into your car, you spilled coffee on your lap, or a loved one is doing something destructive. Life happens. Some of it we can control – some we cannot and are powerless to.
If we choose to fight against something that we cannot change, we add more struggle. More anxiety. More pain. We will begin to focus on life as it “should” be, rather than as it is, and may begin to beat ourselves up with these false expectations. It could contribute to other mental health issues of depression or obsessive-compulsiveness as we try to hold on to false security. By resisting this acceptance, we might miss important life lessons in the moment, the insight to set a boundary, or make a decision with a clear mind. We especially miss peace and serenity amongst the storm.
Accepting the pain doesn’t mean we like, choose or want the painful experience. It doesn’t mean that we instantly get over it or don't care. It doesn’t mean that we get walked on or become submissive. Rather, true acceptance is a sign of strength during times of weakness.
How can we practice Acceptance? Here are some things:
Practicing powerlessness - What are the things I can change, and what are not? First step in change is recognizing what it is that we can change. Can I change the situation, or can I change how I decide to cope with it?
Stay in your shoes - How are you feeling right now? Are you dwelling over what has happened in the past, and how it should or could have been different? Are you obsessing over what the future might look like? If you are you are missing the right here and right now. There are any ways to learn being grounded (maybe another blog is in order!)
Stay Connected! - It is easy to want to isolate or withdraw when the going gets rough. Make a contract with yourself that when it happens, you will reach out to those that are safe.
Acceptance is a journey. It takes time, practice, and sometimes help. What are the difficult things in your life that you cannot change right now?