Holding onto thoughts that do not enrich our lives have no place in it. True that the deeper the struggle, the greater the reward. Nevertheless, this must be taken under the context that there is a reason or purpose for your efforts. If there is no end goal behind the endeavor then it may be a good time to stop and think what all the hardship is for. The existence of mental conflict while innately occurring in any human being must be dealt with immediately to find inner peace.
By accepting what is, you are able to move on to other things. Doing so will allow you to grow and bring in more elements to enrich your life with. The focus on what you do not want is released and is ideally shifted to the things that you do want. This will help you concentrate your time and energy to create more positive experiences. In time, that which you have accepted becomes but a distant memory which no longer affects you.
As the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus once said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Past and future events
Things that have already come and gone are to be learned from. There is no need to dwell in the past if all it does is to bring unnecessary pain and mental anguish. It is natural for anybody to think about something that has hurt them from time to time. The trick is to be able to get out as soon as possible once you notice something is weighing you down. Cut yourself loose by acknowledging its presence and make a conscious effort to think about positive thoughts.
The same goes with things that have yet to happen. Worrying about something that may or may not take place will only make you anxious. Instead, you may want to build up your confidence by hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. That way when the event does come to pass you are ready to face it. Acceptance of the uncertainty and doing something about it will gradually make you feel more inclined to take it on.
Actions of others
This may very well be one of the best applications for acceptance. People are free to say or do whatever they please as long as it does not pose a threat or danger to others. Outside of that, everyone is free to agree or disagree on a multitude of topics. Respect for one another should ideally be present while doing so. Of course this does not always happen. You do not however, need to contribute to these incidents.
We cannot control what other people think, say or do. Neither could they do the same with us, unless we choose to do so. Every person has the right to live their lives according to how they see fit. As long as doing so does not hurt anybody, then we should just accept our differences. In fact, we should celebrate our uniqueness or at least exercise higher tolerance.
Believing in the goodness of others and acknowledging their right to live a free, independent and autonomous life breeds kindness, happiness and respect towards each other.
Acceptance is not surrendering. It is about allowing. By admitting what is, you release any contradictory tension present in your life and enable yourself to move forward. Such an act empowers you to go beyond your current state of mind and grants access to go beyond previously self-limiting beliefs. It allows you to grow into a better person for yourself and others.
There may be a lot of things you do not like about yourself. It may be how you look, what you said, something you did or a current situation in your life. Whatever it may be, the only thing you can truly change about it is how you feel. Focus instead on what you have and be thankful. It will make you happier in the long run and could eventually bring in more positive things into your life.
A good reminder
So when do you move on and when should you do something about it?
The Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Neibuhr says it best:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
This saying has had wide application in both sectarian and non-sectarian circles. It inspires patience and action. Moving beyond a state of mind that is self-limiting because of the refusal to acknowledge something for what it truly is or to act to improve a situation is among its objectives. Recognizing however what can or cannot be changed is a necessary part of the process. Perhaps remembering its message is a good reference point to use whenever you need to welcome a more accepting stance into your life.