Accept What You Cannot Change
Accepting the things you cannot change brings peace to your soul.
Set yourself free to live happier and soar higher. Unleash your potential. Harness all possibilities.
Don’t just live. Leap and flourish. For baby boomers, we have lived half a century or more. Our boundless potential lies in the abundance of our intelligence, experience, knowledge, skills and inner resources.
What is stopping you from being who you want to be and what you want to achieve?
Let’s turn to the ABCDE strategy* and explore the true of: Acceptance. (Future posts will focus on Belief, Commitment, Discovery, and Evaluation.)
What is Acceptance?
Acceptance is the acknowledgment of the reality in a situation, a person, or an event, whether pleasant or unpleasant.
Life happens. It’s natural for us to celebrate the good times and rejoice in the blissful moments. What about the hard times? When facing difficult predicaments, denying or ignoring the problem, being angry, resentful, finding ways to escape or remove ourselves from dealing with the painful reality prevents us from moving forward in life.
On the same note, trying to change something out of our control is futile. How many of us have successfully changed our spouses?
Accepting the inevitable brings peace to our soul, sets us free to live happier lives, and propel us forward to explore new possibilities. As a result, we can focus our energy in living our true self, achieving our dream, and cultivating harmony in our relationships with loved ones.
My father loved to read and write. He had good eyesight for a long time. I remember seeing him leaning forward with his head slightly bent in a close angle reading a 200-page Chinese novel. Between his face and the fine print was his right hand holding a round magnifying glass. He would skillfully slide his hand as he squinted through the page from top to the bottom. He often complained of headache and dizziness after reading a few pages. He rejected the idea of wearing glasses because in his mind, only “old” people needed reading glasses. He felt miserable that he wasn’t able to read as much as he wanted to. He started giving away his books.
Often times, accepting an unpleasant reality entails our willingness to compromise and change one’s attitude. My father later loved his reading glasses and never again, turned to the magnifying lens. He enjoyed reading his stories again, free of headache and dizziness.
In today’s culture, women and men (to a lesser degree) are investing in methods to turn back the clock: diet pills, personal training, and anti-wrinkle concoctions, mud baths, invasive and non-invasive cosmetic surgery, you name it.
Why are people electing to spend their hard-earned money and precious time, and to withstand the possibility of adverse side effects to hold on to their youthful look for as long as they can? Turning back the clock is about maintaining the status quo. We are comfortable with our youthful look and perhaps apprehensive about ourselves as we actually are at present and might be forthcoming. Perhaps focusing on face-lifts or tummy tucks is easier to deal with rather than embracing the reality of advancing to a new phase of life.
Expanding our potential involves setting a direction of what we are to become and what is to be. It requires us to accept what is and move on to focus on creating a brighter future.
Accepting personal responsibility for relational problems such as marital conflicts is crucial to cultivating relationship harmony. It is tempting to point fingers at the other party and shout, “It’s your fault.” Reflect on your involvement in the relationship equation, particular the problem area. In what ways have you contributed to the conflict? Start by addressing your attitudes, assumptions and responses to the other person or situation.
Accepting others the way they are, entails the appreciation of their personality, traits, strengths, weaknesses, and limitations without the need or desire to change them. The same is true for self-acceptance. We are unique human beings with diversified background and qualities. Our differences enrich the human experience and enable creative solutions beyond what one person can bring. Celebrate our uniqueness and embrace our difference sets us onto a journey of fun discovery.
Acceptance and Growth
I believe in being ‘older and growing’ rather than simply ‘growing old’. C.S. Lewis reminded us that, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Yet, most people don’t get to live their dream. According to the Addicted2Success website, the top regret from people on their death beds is that they were never brave enough to pursue their dreams and aspirations.
While you still have many years to live, pursue your dreams. Accepting who you are does not mean to settle for what have landed on your doorsteps. Define your future and start working on your goals today.
Do you struggle with acceptance?
What is most difficult for you to accept?
* Note: ABCDE Strategy is adapted from Dr. Paul T.P. Wong’s Meaning Therapy