“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Lately, I have felt incredibly irritable and a bit like something ominous is hanging over me. There is a lot going on right now, some happy, some neutral, and some very sad. I have to be aware when I start to feel like this, as irritability sets in, and it’s hard for me to find contentment. I am reminded back to a time when I had my first real eye-opener to the power of acceptance.
I faced some difficult struggles in my very early twenties, most of which seemed to stem from alcohol. I tried every which way to get around the fact that I could not drink anymore. Whether it was a geographical change, a different amount or even limiting my drinking to certain times, I couldn’t get off the roller coaster.
And it wasn’t until I accepted that alcohol could no longer be in my life, was it that things started to change. I had to accept something I didn’t want to accept as a 23 year old, or ever. It just wasn't doing to others what it was doing to me. And I didn't want to accept that fact.
Acceptance is one of those concepts about which it is easy to talk the talk, but oh, so hard to walk the walk. There was pain, consequence, shame, embarrassment and fear that accompanied the tread down the road of acceptance. But the alternative held such a massive sphere of the same pain, consequence, shame, embarrassment and fear, except with no hope for survival.
And it’s not always easy today. But I must keep in mind I continually have a choice. I can choose to accept the reality of any given situation, or I can fight it, deny it, argue it. Despite knowing I always have a choice to resist, I end up coming to the more peaceful solution of accepting the what is happening in front of me, and moving on from there. Depending on my willingness, this resolution may come faster or it may come slower, yet usually still ending up in the same place.
I have learned that it’s not what happens to us, it’s what we do with it that matters.
Now, years later, my awareness to the power of acceptance has only gotten stronger. When I am ready to face what is going on in front of me, deal with the situations that need my attention and action, only then can I move forward. It’s not always easy or comfortable. Sometimes my feelings get hurt and some things are painful – incredibly painful.
We can waste so much of our time and energy fighting when something isn’t working. Admitting fault or simply acknowledging an undesirable truth may seem next to impossible. The consequences may seem too great, the pain too hurtful. We might have to admit wrongdoing, all the while knowing that who we are is not wrong.
In other instances, there are circumstances beyond our control; life simply just happened. We have to believe in our innate strength and wisdom to carry us through the hard times.
Only when we can fully accept what reality is dealing us, can we begin to heal and begin the next step in our journey and move forward.
Even the good can be hard to accept.
Ironically, this can happen just as much as the opposite. We think we are not worthy of a financial bump, of a respectful partner or even anything that comes without adversity. So, we inwardly and outwardly reject the good, the happiness available at our fingertips.
When things feel at their worst, simply for the next 24 hours, we can accept what is in front of us. We don’t have to like it, and we can always take the other route tomorrow. We know what the struggle feels like. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to see what acceptance feels like.