Peace and serenity are what we desire, but also adventure and challenge. Life is often confusing and seemingly paradoxical. One paradox is that accepting things can actually help you to change things in your life.
I’m not talking about acceptance that is powerless, negative or passive. It’s an active acceptance of how things are, and the ability to change from a position of strength that comes from this acknowledgement.
Accept the Past Because You Can’t Change It
Leaving the past where it belongs—in the past —is often a difficult and fraught journey, especially if it has been filled with sorrow, abuse or rejection. However, our past does not have to be our future. We can decide to accept our past and build a better future—one day at a time.
Accepting the past may involve counseling, big decisions, forgiveness and a lot of time, but can be a significant step towards freedom and change.
You can’t change others—only yourself. We often get caught in a cycle of being a victim. We think that others’ treatment of us, or their behaviour, is preventing us from changing our own lives. Accepting that we cannot change another person, frees us to change ourselves.
It helps us to love the people in our lives better and will give us the courage we need to make choices for ourselves, outside of the other person.
Just this last week I’ve heard people say things like, ‘I can’t give up smoking because my partner smokes,’ and ‘I can’t lose weight or exercise because my partner eats junk food and won’t exercise.’
Whilst these are valid influences, and won’t necessarily help us, the fact that the person may never change shouldn’t prevent us from owning responsibility for our own choices.
Owning our ‘own stuff’ and releasing the responsibility of others for their ‘stuff’ can give us the strength and courage we need to make change in our own lives.
Accept Yourself and Change:
We all struggle with our sense of self worth. Even the most confident of those amongst us have doubts and insecurities—some of us just find it easier to hide them.
There are so many people writing in the YA genre and doing it so much better than me. John Green’s YA novels are stunning examples of skill and inspiration. My writing is poor by comparison. I know it. I accept it. I’m working on improving my writing skills and finding a voice of my own.
I faced the fact that I am not gifted in the same way John Green is, but I have a perspective on life that may help others, so I keep writing. It doesn’t mean I’m not critical of my own work, but it doesn’t cripple me.
This goes for anything we do in life, be it parenting, work or friendship. We must accept and acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses and work with what we’ve got.
Giving up out of a sense of self-criticism, fear or comparison may lead us to miss out on living a full life.
When we finally accept our past, accept others and ourselves as we truly are, we can take a flight into freedom. I’m heading for the valley of change-how about you?