The Healing Power of Acceptance
What do Carl Jung, Buddha, and Alcoholics Anonymous all have in common? They all believe in the healing power of acceptance.
As the famous quote used in Alcoholics Anonymous goes, “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.” Accept what you cannot change. Learn to know the difference.
Acceptance means that you have to accept some problems and live with them. It means that the road ahead will be difficult – but if you accept it, you can learn to get on with your life.
The Buddhists say that we need to stop resisting and find acceptance. Things will always change. They say the beauty of life is that it’s unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, and we have to look at those changes through a positive mindset. Just as a muddy river jammed with logs isn’t as pleasant as a flowing stream of clear water, keeping everything in our lives just the same all the time isn’t good for us. Stagnation holds us back.
Not every problem is solvable. We may not have control over every facet of our lives. What we can control is how we react to these obstacles and whether we accept them or struggle against them.
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Another good quote is from Alexander Graham Bell: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
There’s a famous quote about two captains on radios out to sea. One says, “You must turn.” The other says, “No, you must turn.” The first responds, “I insist. You must turn or you will crash.” The other gets all high and mighty and says, “I am the highly ranked captain of this sea vessel and I insist you must move!” The other guy responds, “We’re a lighthouse. Your call.” Accept the fact that sometimes there’s just a lighthouse there and you have to move.
We all have to accept that some things simply are what they are and to fight it is futile. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up, or giving in. It means understanding that this is something that can’t be changed, and stopping the continuous battle can save you energy and grief and allow you to focus on things that you can change.
For people with chronic illness, there are some that fight and fight and try every new medicine and untested procedure under the sun. But for many, acceptance that there is an illness, it’s chronic and there’s nothing that can be done about it can be the beginning of freedom. Accepting an illness doesn’t change the fact that you or a loved one may be ill, but it frees you from that extra layer of suffering. It allows you to accept the situation and roll with it. Now comes the creativity — how can you enjoy life under this new set of circumstances?
Next time you find yourself dealing with a difficult problem, consider whether or not this obstacle is something you can change. If you can’t, consider simply accepting it and moving on. Paddling upstream, fighting wave after wave against a rough current is difficult and not the way the river is supposed to flow. Follow the current, glide with the river and accept your situation. You might find that not only will life be easier, but also much more enjoyable. Good luck!
Here is a related resource about “Setting Personal Goals“.
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