Originally written for JediLiving.
First understand that there are different levels of acceptance. This isn’t an all or done sort of thing. Understand that acceptance doesn’t mean passivity. Acceptance does not equal inaction. Just because you accept your boss is a jerk and accept that is who they are, doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about your situation. The first step to correcting any problem is accepting that there is a problem. You need to acknowledge and accept the issue then you can begin to work on it. This is the first level of acceptance – that there is something you need to address.
Next step is to understand not everything is about you. When someone is a jerk (using our previous example) that is about them. Even if they seem to only be a jerk to you specifically, it is still their issue. They are the one with the problem and inability to express and communicate like a rational adult. Instead of addressing whatever -their- issue may be, they have decided to act out in a childish manner. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own issues. Once you can accept that it isn’t about you then you can focus on what you can do.
The next step is a bit tricky, because it does have something to do with you. More specifically you have to be aware of your motivations. A lot of our inability to accept something is because we have a very strong desire to be something else. We cannot accept that this person is a jerk because we expect and want them to be better. We expect them to be someone of quality and hold them to our own standards. It is not allowing people to be their normal messed up selves. So we find we cannot accept a situation because we have this expectation. The question then is – why do you have this expectation? What is motivating this desire to see a different reality then the one being presented to you? Try to let go of those expectations and simply accept what is presented to you and work from that rather than an idea of what it “should” be.
This brings us to our next step which is probably the most helpful. Your focus determines your reality, right? So adjust focus on solutions, not problems. You have probably heard that presented to you a bunch of times. The reason being is because it does wonders. When faced with a tough situation turn your eyes toward solutions rather than blame. Don’t look to blame anyone, including yourself, it is wasted effort. Instead find the solutions to the issue. There are usually many options available so look for them. Work through them. Find the best option for you. And if there is no solution to be had – look for the things within your control. What can you do? Where can you put your time, energy, and focus? Accept that you have control over you and where you put your time and energy and then use that ability to focus on more productive and happier things.
Last step is the over-used let it go. Don’t hang onto the past. You do what you do and then move forward. You make your decision and move forward. You don’t have a time machine. You cannot go back and change things, but what you can do is live in this moment to your fullest. You can learn from the past and use it to help create a brighter future. Shouldn’t have skipped that workout? You let that guilt go and when a day comes and you don’t feel like working out, you do a light workout knowing at least you did something. Stepped in some gum? Deep breath, done deal now, scrap it off, and move forward. Should have taken that job offer a couple years back? Keep an eye for a similar opportunity, never too late to take a new direction in life.
Acknowledge, Accept, Act (inaction counts, sometimes patience is the best action), and Move Forward. Acceptance is about realizing that we are always in motion, always moving forward. We have no reverse in this life. So deep breath – what is done is done – the question is now what – then go do that smarter and wiser for it.