STRESS AND ACCEPTING WHAT WE CAN’T CHANGE

by StressWinner on November 28, 2011

 “There is only one way to happiness, and that
is to cease worrying about

things which are beyond the power of
our will.”

–  Epictetus

When we feel stressed out, a good first step is to write down all our worries and problems and then make effective plans to solve
them. This is great advice but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

We can’t solve or avoid every problem; some events such as the loss of a loved one, a fatal illness or a child in serious trouble have no solutions at all.

No matter how much struggling or screaming we do, we cannot stop the sun from rising nor change the behaviour of other people. We must accept the fact that we can’t have everything, that life isn’t fair, people won’t always like us—and that we will eventually die. Even if we strive to be perfect, if we want to be happy we must accept the fact that we’ll make mistakes.

The ability to accept reality, hard as it is, is a major step in our personal growth. A clenched fist cannot receive a gift, so when we
say: “I just cannot accept this” we will not learn from the situation, nor grow stronger as a result of it.

The opposite of acceptance is judgment and denial, which make us tense up, criticize ourselves and others, and insist on impossible standards for everyone. Accepting ourselves just the way we are—unconditionally—paves the way to contentment and then to self-improvement.

But acceptance doesn’t mean just sitting around doing nothing.

When we truly decide to accept something, we’ll suddenly notice a feeling of relief and relaxation, along with a sense of inner power. If we’ve hurt someone else, then accepting it and taking responsibility makes us more humble and then motivated to take
action to correct wrongs and change for the better.

Would you like to relax?

When dealing  with people who have painful feelings we might feel  obliged to ‘do something’ to distract them, to help fix the problem, or advise them what to do.  But probably the best thing we can do for them is to simply accept them, to be there and to listen.

For a lesson in acceptance, observe a dog. Pet animals generally accept and love you, no matter what, and so do young children.  And it’s a two way street because in raising children it’s vital to accept them for what they are, even as we try to train them in good behaviour.

Just for one day, try to accept anything that exists or happens, even if it seems wrong, for as long as you can. Accept all the things
you did or didn’t do, all your thoughts and actions—and all your limitations of looks, intelligence and wealth.

Accept everything  that other people do as well, without judging them. You might find that practising acceptance helps in  making
wiser choices and responding to stress in healthier ways.

As James Russell Lowell said:

“There is no good in arguing with the inevitable.

The only argument available with an east wind is to put on your overcoat”.

 And remember:

“What we anticipate seldom occurs;  what we least expect generally happens”.

–  Benjamin Disraeli

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