“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein
Recently I have learned the true meaning of acceptance. I never in all my life thought I was going to experience certain emotions and be dealing with confusing situations, as I’m doing right now.
You see, sometimes you’re an observer of other people’s lives and you think you’ll never experience what they’re living, whether it be a positive or negative situation. You think, “That will never happen to me.”
Part of the real beauty of life is that it’s unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, everything changes; and of course, a lot of things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. The problem is that we need to cultivate the ability to truly accept whatever comes and embrace it.
We need to develop the habit of looking at whatever happens through a positive mindset, instead of a negative and defeatist one.
Of course, life will bring many challenges (such as the death of someone we love), and it’s not easy to embrace them when we’re suffering and wishing those things would have never happened. But if we start cultivating acceptance in our lives right now, we’ll likely cope with future crises in a different way and view them from a different perspective. We will accept instead or resisting.
I am big fan of Deepak’s Chopra’s The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success, in which he dedicates one complete chapter (Law #4) to describing how we need to receive with open arms what happens to us, because if we fight and resist it, then we are generating a lot of turbulence in our minds.
He explains that we might want for things to be different in the future, but in the present moment we need to accept things as they are. That’s the way you can make your life flow smoothly, instead of roughly.
During the last year of my life I have learned the true power of acceptance.
The first lesson I learned was last year when my boyfriend broke up with me after three years together. Even though I was reluctant to believe he wouldn’t give me a second chance during the initial months, I ended up realizing I had no option but to accept his choice and move on with my life.
I discovered that I was happier and more peaceful when I accepted what had happened, instead of constantly fighting to change things.
Recently life has presented another challenge to me. I am currently dealing with an overwhelming situation involving an impossible love.
I met someone a few months ago, and even though it was clear from the beginning that nothing could ever happen between us, love found its way through. I couldn’t help feeling something deep and real for him. I allowed myself to give into the feeling, even though my mind was screaming to get out—and fast.
I have to accept things as they are, and right now we cannot be together for many reasons. There may be hope down the road; maybe someday things might work out, but right now, in this moment, that’s impossible. I have chosen to accept that fully.
Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but in the end, it’s a choice that only we can make at any given situation of our lives.
There are two ways out of a problem: accept what’s happening, see the positive, and choose a peaceful state of mind; or fight against it, be miserable, and struggle against the universe.
Even though my two examples are related to love and relationships, I am 100% positive that learning to accept things as they present themselves is a helpful tool in different aspects of life.
Whether it’s a family loss, a missed opportunity, or a sudden change in your plans, being able to accept things as they come (when they are out of our control) will help you maintain inner peace and happiness.
Acceptance, in my opinion, is the key to convert momentary happiness to enduring happiness. It helps you move from feeling happy to actually being happy.
Practicing acceptance prepares you to live in this changing world, where you never know what’s going to happen next. Acceptance is like protecting yourself with your own shield.
Let me clarify that acceptance is not at all related to weakness and is definitely not a synonym of conformism or mediocrity.
We need to learn how to identify when it’s time to persist and when it’s time to accept.
One thing that makes acceptance much easier is to list all the possible explanations for why you’re experiencing something.
For example, I know I met this person to help him go through a very difficult moment in his life. He needed me. He needed to be heard, to be understood. And I was there for him in those ways. I fulfilled a purpose.
Finding the lesson or purpose behind every challenge will help you embrace it, instead of fighting it.
Choose not to judge what happens to you. Instead believe that everything happens for a reason and that better things will always follow. That’s the beginning of true acceptance.
Somewhere recently I read that the important thing is not to understand why something happened. Our understanding can wait, but our obedience cannot.
I translate this to mean that when something unpredictable happens, instead of complaining and over-thinking it, we need to choose to live with it.
I know it’s hard to practice acceptance when you deeply wish things aren’t the way they are. But the truth is, sometimes we can’t change our reality, even though we try.
So instead of staring at the closed door in front of us, or getting tired and bruised while we try to break it down, let’s turn around and see how many other windows we have open.
Photo by h.koppdelaey