Accept What Is

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Have you ever thought about how vital these three words are to living a more peaceful life? When you accept what is, instead of resisting it, you can lessen stress.

I’m not saying this is easy to do because many times it is not. But I’ve found when I resist accepting what has already happened or what is not in my control, it doesn’t help. All it does is to create more stress, worry, and anxiety.

It all comes down to where we place our focus. Let’s say that I’m standing in line that is not moving. I can either accept it or resist it. I can think, “I won’t be here all day and so why worry about a couple of extra minutes?” Or I can tell myself, “What’s taking so long?” or “Why can’t they move any faster?” I can’t control how fast the line moves, so why do I worry about it?

One thought creates peace, and the other creates stress. We can’t stop a thought from appearing in our mind, but we can control how we react, and we can change the thought to something more beneficial.

Accepting the Situation

I was at Disney World and it was very hot and humid. I’m sweating and uncomfortable. The more I focused on the heat, the more miserable I got. But then something distracts my attention, like the Tinker Toys in Toy Story Land, and I look at them with joy. Did the weather change? No, it’s still hot. But my focus changed. And if I can change my focus there, I can change anywhere it.

Of course, this is much harder to do when we experience a big change, challenge, or loss. I experienced a house fire that destroyed a portion of my house and we had to move out while it was being rebuilt. This happened just three weeks after my husband unexpectedly died. To say I was a mess would be an understatement. 

I was trying to process the loss of my husband, and now I had to focus on rebuilding my home. I had to work with the insurance company, the contractors, and the people who come to clean up after a fire. And I had to find a new place for us to live for seven months. My focus kept moving back and forth from the grief of losing my husband to the loss of losing my home. This experience made me realize that our focus can quickly change, even in times of tremendous loss.

It took me several months to accept everything that had happened. Looking back, I realize I created more stress for myself by resisting instead of accepting my new circumstances. I couldn’t change the past, so wishing it didn’t happen did not help me. I’m not saying not to grieve a loss or challenge, because we need to feel our emotions so we can move through them. It’s important to give yourself time to process and accept a big change. But how many small, daily annoyances, like a traffic jam, do we resist instead of accepting it?

How do you know if you are resisting?

If you feel worried or stressed about something that has already happened, you may be resisting.

If you feel at peace with something, you are allowing.

Change Your Focus

I’m reminded of an episode of Frasier where he takes his girlfriend, Clair, to Belize and nothing goes as planned. He gets into a fender-bender on the way to the airport and misses the plane. Then the airline loses their luggage. They get to the hotel late, so the hotel gave their ocean-view room was to someone else. Now they overlook the parking lot. And then the romantic dinner table Frasier booked was taken and by the time they order, they were out of all the fish dishes. Then the Clair says, “We both have had a long day, but we are here now, why not make the most of it?” She then says, “This weekend doesn’t have to be perfect. Let’s just try to have fun.”

They were in an ocean-front hotel in Belize and all Frasier could concentrate on was how his plans were not working out instead of accepting what was and enjoying the weekend. When our expectations aren’t meant, we can focus on the negative instead of seeing the beauty of what’s right in front of us.

Next time you get frustrated over a little thing, try to change your focus to something more beneficial. The view is much better from here!

If you liked this post, read Finding Peace In Challenging Times.

Photo by Alysha Rosly on Unsplash

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