Although there are positive aspects in the life of each one of us, there’s almost always something that clouds over them and seems to prevent us from enjoying what we have.
It could be something significant, such as the loss of someone dear, dismissal, separation, a difficult financial situation, or physical disability. Or something less significant, such as a body part that we don’t like, a scar, or a minor flaw of some sort.
It could also be our age; the fear of getting old or dying; regret about past choices or about the things we had to endure, had they not happened everything could have been different for us (or so the mind tells us); the number of children we have or the fact we cannot bring children anymore.
So What Can Help Us Accept the Things Our Hearts and Minds Resist?
Internal resistance to the things that seem to stand in the way of the life you want is perfectly reasonable. No matter what’s bothering you and what other people’s perspective about it is – for you it’s the end of the world and no one can argue with that.
However, I know that my personal goal, and surely yours too, is to be happy.
And it’s as simple as that: when I’m complaining (or whining) about my circumstances, about what I believe I deserved and didn’t get, or about what I might never have – I’m suffering.
“So? Do you expect me to ignore what bothers me?” you may ask.
Of course not.
Some things require time to adjust, such as a loss or physical disability. In such situations you can’t (and better not) shut down your feelings; naturally, there’s a period of processing and grief before acceptance can take place.
But most often we resist and internally argue with inevitable facts, such as the feelings, preferences, or character of another person; the way we feel; or past circumstances that have led to our current condition.
Thus, the First and Most Important Step to Creating Internal Acceptance Is the Willingness to Accept the Situations We’re Facing!
What does it mean?
Although a given situation is a fact, in our minds we might be arguing with it for years. One reason for this irrational behavior is the hope that God will hear us out and do something to solve our problems.
Some people keep complaining about their misfortune and suffer until their last day, while others realize at some point (as happened to me) that it can’t go on like this and that something must be done.
The doing I’m talking about is not really an actual doing, it’s more like something that clicks from within and suddenly we are willing to accept the situation as it is and stop complaining about it, simply because we are tired of the suffering we create for ourselves.
Without wholeheartedly wanting to stop suffering no matter what – no matter if I don’t have what I want and might never have it, no matter how stupid the choices I’ve made, no matter if my parents failed to give me the right tools for life or how different everything could have been had they loved me more – no change will last for long.
So no matter the circumstances – I stop complaining.
The internal complaining (or whining) might reemerge, but if I’m committed to stop suffering I won’t identify with it and eventually it will subside.
The Next Step Is to Start Cooperating With Our Life Circumstance Instead of Mentally Arguing With Them.
In any given situation, no matter how unpleasant it is, there are things we can do to improve it.
If your spouse is not the person you want them to be, stop fighting them for years, and instead either stay while finding a way to accept their weaknesses or leave.
If you hate your ex but still have to communicate with them, you can seek ways to improve the communication.
If you are challenged by a certain limitation, there are still many things you can do to enjoy life. And instead of sitting and complaining about not being able to find a life partner due to your situation, you can look for stories about people who face the same situation or worse who have found fulfilling relationships and accomplished tremendous things despite their limitations.
If a parent had passed away and you made your life a living hell without them, you can turn your attention to your children and see that they are suffering when their mother (or father) is in such a bad place, and then do everything in your power to pull yourself out of the situation for their sake.
If you don’t have children of your own you can open your heart to other children; you might adopt a child or enjoy the presence of the children you know.
And if you are afraid of death, you must learn to focus your attention on the present moment.
Presence in the moment (which some are more familiar with the methods to achieve it: mindfulness and meditation) is one of the two main tools that can help us in accepting what-is.
The first is to stop complaining about the situation and the second is presence.
(I rather call it “presence” than “meditation” because presence in the moment is something that we bring into our daily lives and not necessarily a period of X minutes in which we’re sitting in a certain position with our eyes closed.)
About how to easily start practicing presence (or meditation) you can read here…
But remember that the practice becomes effective only when there’s already internal willingness to accept a given situation, it cannot make you accept something you are not willing to.
Happy acceptance 🙂