When I think of acceptance, the Serenity Prayer comes to mind. This little piece of salvation-like wisdom has been guiding people for eons.
It goes like this: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
It is saying to us, if you don’t have the ability or the power to change something accept it. Avoid being taken over or losing yourself in the perceived discomfort. For example a justifiable complaint, one you can do something about would be—waiter this lasagna is still frozen inside. I rightfully expect hot food.
On the other hand, one of the most common modern-day challenges and one that almost everyone complains about with enormous energy and drama is the traffic jam.
Complaining, spinning and grumbling about traffic that you can do nothing about expends energy uselessly. You expand and deepen the misery. Find some way to adapt, adjust and accept things as they are. Set the stage to enjoy your travel. Of course, the traffic jam is meant as an example for the multitude of ways life “tortures” us.
I recommend we accept what has happened and what is happening that is not in our control to change, first and foremost we must cultivate well being.
You can’t move forward from a place of complaining and anger. You can’t change the world (your world) when you are full of rage and resentment. Use the energy that would have been for vocally objecting to create peace within and without. Be an emotional activist!
This is what Gandhi did. Gandhi was a tremendously passionate young man full of anger, rage and at times had a bursting, hot temper. But he trained himself from the inside out and transformed his passions. Gandhi said. I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson is to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world.
Gandhi demonstrated acceptance for us. Of course you don’t just accept. You accept what you cannot change and continue to work from a place of traction—where you know your efforts will bear fruit.
Gandhi inspired our action too by saying, I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.
I am not suggesting we don’t grieve what is lost or ignore the significance of what happened and in no way is acceptance meant to diminish the powerful feelings you have.
Acceptance simply means accept and acknowledge what is, without resisting, resenting or denying it.
- Accepting a bad employee is not excusing. It’s ensuring you don’t add to the pain and go from one problem to two problems.
- Accepting a mean coworker or driver doesn’t condone the behavior. It saves you from unnecessary involvement.
I know this is easier said than done. But we all have the opportunity to begin reducing the forces that inhibit and constrict and cultivate the forces that add and expand.
Let’ start with the new day and this new week!
Happiness can only exist in acceptance—George Orwell
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