“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein
I have the opportunity to meet fantastic people through my online radio show interviews. One of those people is an Australian author whose life circumstances led her to work alongside Mother Teresa.
Among the most impactful statements my guest made was that Mother Teresa was a woman of action. The dire environment of the streets of Calcutta required the help of someone with a big heart but also with a strong will to make change happen.
When my marriage ended after nearly three years of struggle, well-meaning relatives and friends would insist that I needed to “accept” my challenge.
“If I accept what’s happening, then what do I do next?” I would ask them.
They would just shrug and say, “You’ll be fine.”
My unanswered question led to an extended time of reflection and search for what acceptance really meant. I tuned in to interviews with teachers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle. I read books and articles on the subject. I meditated.
Did acceptance mean that I needed to grab a pint of Chunky Monkey, plop down on the couch, tune in to a rerun of Sex and the City, and wait for the bad times to pass?
Did acceptance mean condoning hurtful behavior and abuse? Did acceptance mean to expect little of life? Did acceptance mean defeat?
My time of research and contemplation finally gave me the answers.
Acceptance releases the power that your life circumstances have over you. When things don’t go your way, you don’t become paralyzed by negative emotions such as anger, fear, resentment, or regret.
Acceptance isn’t the opposite of caring. You may still care about your challenges and be invested in finding ways to overcome them. However, you won’t spend every moment thinking about what’s wrong in your life.
Acceptance helps you cope with menial struggles. An attitude of acceptance will allow you to deal with your judgmental aunt during Thanksgiving dinner, with a knee injury during your morning run, or with non-stop rain during your weeklong summer vacation.
Acceptance helps you deal with life-changing obstacles. Accepting what is will give you the power to overcome the negative emotional effects of physical illness, joblessness, abandonment, betrayal, addiction, and loss.
Acceptance nullifies judgment. By choosing acceptance, you remind yourself that what’s happening in your life is not good or bad, fair or unfair. It just is.
Acceptance is an act of trust. When you accept your current situation, you let go and know that if you continue aligning yourself with the truth, you will be guided to where you need to be.
Acceptance is focusing on the underlying opportunities. When you accept a challenge, you view it as part of the universe’s master plan to lead you to a fulfilled and meaningful life. You start noticing the blessings embedded in your misfortune.
And the most significant lesson I learned:
Acceptance is a training ground for action. When you accept your current circumstances and stop focusing on what you don’t like or what isn’t working, you clear your mind to receive intuitive messages that will lead you to positive action.
Once I understood the concept of acceptance, I was able to implement it in my life. I used my challenge as a springboard to follow my true calling.
One of the blessings that I received as a result of accepting my situation was my initiative to host an inspirational online radio show. My show allowed me to meet the author who worked with Mother Teresa.
Life has come full circle.
So, yes, “It is what it is,” but as the proverb says, “It’ll become what you make of it.” Accept your life challenges knowing that acceptance is the first and necessary step to enter a place of happiness.
And if you’re tempted to succumb to apathy in the midst of a challenge, remember the words of Mother Teresa:
“There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone’s house. That says enough.”