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How Accepting Your Circumstances Can Help You Find Something Better

Happy

“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~Sonia Ricotti

I’m on an old bus in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, where I’m staying on a three-month tourist visa. I look through the window at the streets, dirty beyond belief.

Thick dust in the air mixes with the pollution of exhaust fumes; I see men spitting on pavements and small children with greasy hair roaming the streets in search of people kind enough to give a few coins.

I witness dirty stray dogs that look like they have rabies, mingling in the crowd; all shops look the same—small, dirty, and grey.

I resisted it all during the first month of my stay, but this resistance only created misery. Why on earth do I always choose the road less travelled and not stick to the touristy spots, where I could remain blissfully unaware of the reality of Nepal?

I know the answer to this question; I always knew it. The universe is trying to teach me a lesson of acceptance and non-resistance. I couldn’t learn the lesson as long as I viewed life in Nepal in a judgmental way.

As soon as I eased into the country and became willing to view it without judgment, a whole new world opened up before my eyes.

I suddenly saw another side of Nepal: I noticed dirty yet adorable, happy children chasing kites on the green grass plot near the street; I noticed a mother sitting on the road and swinging her child in a loving way; I saw white broad smiles in tanned faces.

What’s most important, I felt the unity these people experience because they share this unique way of life. Brotherly love is in full swing here, and in India, but nothing of that sort I witnessed in the west.

I felt the relief people feel to shut away the dust and pollution and enter a peaceful atmosphere of a café to enjoy a latte. I also felt the home-feeling people get sitting on roadsides, sipping over-sweetened milk teas.

This is what they know and this is what they choose to experience—who am I to judge all this?

This experience of opening up taught me the importance of non-resistance. When you’re observing everything without judgment and accepting things as they are, you feel completely at peace with yourself and experience real happiness within.

Many people don’t learn this lesson all their lives, like those stuck in unpleasant circumstances they hate. Until they learn this lesson, they will keep being stuck.

In India, where I currently live, many expats are stuck. They look shabby, they’re often drunk, and they complain about how appalling the life in India is, and yet they keep living here. Many of them hate the culture, and all their lives consist of resisting the way things are.

How Acceptance Helped Me Move to a Country That’s Perfect for Me

I know it’s horrible to be stuck somewhere you dislike and be unable to move on. However, this happens when we resist our circumstances. As soon as we wholeheartedly accept them, the door opens for a change, because acceptance dissolves the limited mindset that prevents us from seeing opportunities.

When I moved to England from Lithuania, my home country, I got stuck in a horrible town with factories and nothing to do in my spare time except shop in soul-less shopping centers.

What kept me stuck there was my studies and later a horrible job, which gave me a steady paycheck. I disliked the job, yet I felt comfortable. I was afraid to quit it because I didn’t know if I could find a better one.

I struggled with these surroundings and I hated them with all my heart. However, when I started reading self-help books, I got convinced that I was where I was because my mindset had attracted me there, and through my resistance I had gotten myself more stuck.

As I explained before, resistance limited my understanding of the world. I was unwilling to see the positive side of things, and thus I couldn’t spot any opportunities that would have shown me a way out.

When I realized this, I changed my strategy. I started accepting my situation instead of resisting it. Instead of thinking about how horrible the town was, I tried to be neutral about it, so I wouldn’t channel negative emotions into the situation and thus get more stuck.

I also decided to channel the emotions of happiness and joy into London, the city I loved, and visited whenever I had time and money.

Whenever a negative emotion or thought would arise about the town I lived in, I reminded myself that when my mindset changed—when I became more positive and open—I would more easily find a way to move.

My neutral attitude toward the town I lived in gradually made me see a more balanced view of it and eventually, appreciate the positive aspects. I noticed, for example, that the town had beautiful parks and ponds, and that some people living there were interesting and kind.

Developing understanding and acceptance opened the doors for a change.

As I became more open-minded and happier, I started noticing and acting on new opportunities. For example, I came across information about how to start my own business and thus acted on it.

Within a year or so of this change of mind, I moved to London, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This non-resisting attitude made me dissolve some of the limits of my mind and thus I became more intuitive. This intuition eventually led me to the country where I felt most at home—India.

If I had never learned this lesson of non-resistance, I would probably still be stuck in that horrible town, cursing my situation to this day.

Wherever you are and whatever you experience, try to be at peace with it. If it’s hard to think positively about your situation, at least don’t focus on the negatives, and instead focus on something you’d like to experience.

It may help to make a list of things you’re grateful for and the positive aspects of whatever you resist. Focus on those aspects completely, and soon your mind will become more positive and more accepting of your present circumstances.

This shift in focus will eventually open the door to circumstances that are more empowering and positive.

Photo by Courtney Carmody

Profile photo of Simona Rich

About Simona Rich

Simona Rich lives in tropical South India, rides scooter, meditates, does yoga and helps people create fulfilling and unique lives. Read her story to find out how she changed her life. You can also find her on facebook, twitter and google+.

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  • Lily

    Thank you Simona for sharing that. This comes at the right time – I was told by someone I had deeply learnt to care and share that he has chosen to be with someone else. Just a couple of days ago. I feel shattered and the loss of a beautiful possibility seems to now be gone. And Im left with healing and then pursuing a friendship with him when I am ready – all of which is challenging yet I know will bring immense growth.

    But every day, I try to accept the situation a bit more – some mornings are easy, some are a struggle. I know that life is starting to open up and present moments of peace and calmness and synchronicity even with the little acceptance that had happened. I am grateful for the love and support of my friends and the possibility of meeting new people and hopefully a partner who will love me for all I am and cherish me just the way I am. I hope this shift will open up to more positive and empowering experiences and growth.

    Also, Im glad you are loving India and Nepal – I am from the South of India and very proud to be from that lovely country. I hope your time there is exceptionally amazing and kind.

  • Tim

    Your post was really food for thought for me. I am contemplating a move from frigid Buffalo, NY (at least as cold as Lithuania) to New Mexico. Now that I am preparing to leave, I can see some of the beauty of this area. I hope you are enjoying India. It sounds like your life is a great adventure.

  • Thank you, Tim, it is, and I’m sure your life will be more adventurous soon!

  • Thank you, Lily, I love South India, but now I just arrived in London, where I will stay for some time to organize some spiritual events. I wish you strength and wisdom, and it’s great that you’re opening up to more spirituality in your life.

  • Zaw Man

    Dear Simona, I read your blogs, your posts, they have been helpful, thank you. There’s another million thanks I need to mention, which is that you reply to all people’s comments. At least a thank you and mention their name and short comment. It’s time consuming I’m sure, but you choose to do it and validate their comment and in some way validate their existence. A million thanks, I’m proud of you and all you do.

  • unionmaid12

    hi simona — love this post. i’m learning a similar lesson. when i decided a few years ago that my marriage was no longer working, i felt trapped because i do not yet have an independent income source, and we have a young daughter. i did tell him the truth, that the marriage is over for me. he is willing to keep financially supporting me while i study/take classes towards establishing a new career in a field i love. but all my resistance was making me miserable; i thought this was an intolerable situation, yet i felt i had no way out except thru unacceptable means.

    But the good news is, through much spiritual searching, reading, counseling, I finally am using non-resistance/acceptance in so many areas of my life. What a difference! Truly, it is the only way for me to experience peace no matter the circumstances. I’m not perfect at applying it, but when I do it makes all the difference. I get along better with my spouse as co-parents; there are no more arguments or taking things personally. I never wanted to leave in anger, or expose our daughter to that sort of lingering malice. I have no idea what will transpire to allow me my release from the marriage, but I believe now I am on my way, and that the perfect solution will arrive at the right time. I couldn’t see any of this for the longest time, but it is much clearer now that I no longer resist what is. Blessings on you and your work & life!

  • Miesha

    Loved the post, thank you Simona!

  • I’m grateful for those taking time to comment on my posts, so the least I can do is to write a short note back. Thanks for your comment, Zaw Man!

  • You’re welcome, Miesha:)

  • Thank you for sharing your story. Your writing flows well, which means your mind is flowing and not resisting. I’m sure your difficulties will be over soon.

  • Stella S

    This post is awesome. Proof that the Universe had something for me today, and there you are, Simona. I’m actively learning how to be “comfortable in my own skin”. I do fine enough with my own life, but am struggling with a mother-in-law who is co-dependent and looks to other people and things to make her life complete. Is there a compassionate way to tell her she needs to look within herself (as she looks to the family to “entertain” her)?

  • Lyfé Wisdom

    Hello Simona, I read this post and found that it was simply beautiful. Your writing essence is very pure and I am sure you will go far. I am blogger myself, and I hope you can visit: candidnation.blogspot.com. Either connect through the website or on The Candid Nation Google+ page! Check it out and tell me what you think. Thanks!

  • manu

    What a timely article for me! I was doing soul searching trying to fit in at a new place but guess I was not accepting the situation completely. For some reason I was equating acceptance as weakness or better still giving up. Thank you Simona! I pray your stay in India, my home country, goes well for you in every possible way!

  • Geraldine del Rosario

    Hi Simona,

    Thanks for a wonderful post, enjoyed reading your story. It is true happiness is a journey and it is also the choice you make. You can marvel at the diamonds along the way or you can keep running through all your days, chasing that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that ultimately reveals itself to be empty. The attitude of gratitude is the most powerful tool that can turn things around. I do believe that. 🙂

    Cheerful Regards,
    Geraldine

  • I love your comment, it’s so beautiful and true! Thank you, Geraldine.

  • Many people equate acceptance with ‘giving up’ and ‘weakness’, when it’s actually ‘getting into flow of things’. Thanks for your comment, Manu.

  • Thank you for your kind words about my writing style, Lyfe!

  • Not very much, Stella. People can change only when They want to change; if they don’t want to change, you can’t change them. The choice is yours about whether you want to stay next to her, or distance yourself from her if she affects you in a negative way. It may sound selfish, but if she’s affecting you negatively, you’re suffering, and in this low state you can’t help others. Seems selfish, but then it turns out to be very unselfish, Stella.

  • Stella S

    Yep, that is pretty much what I think also. I feel we all have our own paths to follow, and we make our own choices. Life lessons not learned the first time will be repeated later on. I can’t change the way a whole country lives, but I can change the way I live. Thanks for the reply Simona..

  • Lyfé Wisdom

    Sure no problem and you’re welcome to check out the site and connect through Google+!

  • Andrea from California

    Hi there! I am just beginning this journey. And was so pleased to find Simona’s article. I am completely, utterly stuck. Angry, frustrated, irritable and mostly, envious! I am originally from Southern California and have been living in Philadelphia now for nearly 20 years. Just writing that makes my heart sink. I long to be back in California, particularly in the Bay Area. I must think about it 100 times a day—1,000 times a day during the Philadelphia winters. Every day I hate it here. I have decided not to drive through certain neighborhoods because the ugliness just makes me so depressed. I am constantly harping on my husband to “get us out of here”. The envy I feel towards my brother, who is quite wealthy and living in the SF area is crushing. I feel I will never, ever get out of Philly. On my worst days, I actually believe that I am being “punished” somehow for something I did in another life or even this life, that will keep my out of California until I am way to old and feeble to enjoy it. What struck me about the article most was the comment about acceptance as failure, as a weakness. I work every second of every day, both in body and mind, to try and get back to California. I am constantly trying to find ways we can make or save more money to move. I compare my children’s public schools to those in my brother’s area. I live in a constant, self inhalation state of anger that I can’t seem to get back to Philly that even my marriage is suffering. I blame my husband for not working hard enough, not being ambitious enough, not being “enough” like my wealthy brother to get us to California. It is so unfair to him and so exhausting for me. And yet…

    The thought of accepting that I am here now, is so frightening because it feels like caving in, giving up, being weak and just “accepting” a city and a lifestyle that I absolutely can’t wait to get away from. I fight acceptance all the time because to me, it feels like defeat. That if I accept this is where I am right now, I am deluding myself into being here forever. Totally terrifying for me. OK, enough said. Not sure where to go from here. Would love anyone’s input.

  • Kat

    Hi Simona! Every bit of your article resonates with me. I am originally from Hungary. At 16 I moved to the US and lived there for nearly 9 years…then I moved back to Europe and for the past 4.5 years trotting around like a global nomad lived, traveled, worked, volunteered in many-many countries changing locations every 2-3 months on average. Acceptance, gratitude, looking at the positives is the key to happiness, also following your dreams and not giving up. Always learning. Being open.

  • crying for change

    I lived in northern India and then Kathmandu for a total of 16 months. The first 4.5 months was, as you say, miserable. And now, 2 years after returning to the USA, I’d go back in a HEARTBEAT because I was alive and useful and accepted overseas, whereas here I am an unwanted fringe dwelling outlier with radical ideas and a lifestyle which is more in line with India than the west!

  • Hamza

    Thank you Simona for this amazing post. I completly agree with you. We have accept circumstances and see the positive side of things. Therefore we are more suceptible to find something better.

  • I needed this so much today. Thank you:)

  • paradise5

    hi simona. cant thank u enough for writing this post.. i came across this post at a perfect time. Am facing a hard time accepting this new situation in my life [a missed career opportunity] & this perpetual feeling of “being stuck” here and regrettin over lost opportunities. My mind was constantly restless. Today after a long time i feel so peaceful [having read ur reassuring words] ..

  • Sharon

    This is amazing , Thank you for sharing your experience