ACCEPTANCE of life’s circumstances is essential for expanding your awareness and approaching spiritual wellness, and the refusal to accept these circumstances ONLY creates suffering. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation or agreement with any occurrence. It’s normal to be upset, disappointed, sad, or angry, but soon after you experience these negative emotions, you should identify, process, and release them, then move forward.
At the same time, when an unpleasant situation arises, the answer is not to escape life by using drugs, food, or engaging in other addictive activities as a means of coping (especially for long periods of time), trapping you into uncontrollable addictive patterns. Then you just just have additional issues to contend with, creating more conflict and unease. The objective is to approach unfavorable circumstances aiming for conscious mindful solutions, not to negatively impact your mood, physical health, stunt your inner growth, and/or enslave you to a drug.
Not to say that you shouldn’t be disturbed by negative situations or outcomes, just work to deal with them in a positive fashion through mindfulness. NO problems, ONLY solutions! For example, it is only human to be immediately upset when someone cuts you off on the highway, or blows a stop sign, but how you REACT makes all the difference. Chasing the person down the road in a fit of rage can potentially produce very negative consequences. Learning to accept the situation and how you react allows you to control the outcome. After all, the person that cut you off may not have done it purposely, and the way you react ultimately affects you – not them. Maybe one of their loved ones got in a terrible accident and they are racing to the hospital in a panic. Reacting on impulse and chasing them down can cause harm to you, your passengers, or other drivers. Learning to accept teaches you not to overreact.
Remember, getting upset at first is only a natural release of frustration, but holding on to anger is toxic and will only adversely impact your own health, not the other person’s. There is a saying “only a fool drinks poison expecting it to harm the person they are angry with.”
It can also be very disappointing when you fail an exam, or lose a deal at work, but it shouldn’t completely ruin your day and cause you to take it out on your loved ones, or anyone else for that matter! Keep in mind that becoming more aware and conscious of every situation encountered, whether negative or positive, is advantageous to you and everyone else around you.
The key is to understand that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON, small or big, nothing is random. This is a Universal law, and it applies to everyone whether you choose to believe it or not. You gain more insight when you are able to view the bigger picture. What’s meant to be is meant to be, essentially no miracles, no accidents. Looking for this reason in every situation, especially significant ones, can benefit you greatly, teaching you very valuable lessons, helping you to grow internally and leaving you far better equipped to deal with anything that comes your way in the future.
NO ACCIDENTS, NO MISTAKES- ONLY LESSONS!
When you learn to see the positive side of every situation, being grateful for what you have, you not only change the way you see things, but you change the way you feel. The way you see things is truly the way they are. Perception is everything!
“What’s happening is so supposed to be happening. How do you know? Because it’s happening. Think about how you can jump on board with what’s happening, instead of resisting and continuing to tell yourself that it shouldn’t be happening.” –Teal Swan
Turning the negative into the positive can be very difficult depending on the situation. However, training your mind to think in this manner can be a very powerful tool, not only to feel better about whatever your dealing with, but to gain a clearer view of the bigger picture. For instance, let’s say your car broke down . You could be cursing and fuming with rage, feeling bad for yourself, angry at God, angry at your mechanic for not foreseeing the problem with the car, and not at all looking forward to the 5 mile walk home. Does blaming or thinking and behaving this way make you feel better? Does it solve the problem? No. Instead you are a mental and emotional wreck, your blood pressure goes through the roof, your gut is twisted in knots, and what did that solve? The situation has not changed and your suffering has increased due to your flawed perception.
Let’s take the same situation, and view it differently. Your car breaks down, you get a little upset at first, and then assess the situation. You then realize that the situation could be far worse. Instead of breaking down in the middle of a busy highway blocking traffic, you feel grateful that you broke down near a gas station. You are also grateful that you are only 5 miles from home instead of 25 which would force you to pay for an expensive cab. You are happy to get some much-needed exercise which motivates you to start walking more on a regular basis. Not being angry, overly stressed, and disgruntled on the walk home, your creative mind went to work and you devised a plan to finally get a new car. Wow! The exact same situation, but completely different perceptions! How you view things can make all the difference in the outcome, as well as your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health/well-being.
Accepting the fact that your car broke down is very small in comparison to accepting that a loved one has gotten in a major car accident due to a driver that was texting, and they will likely lose the use of their leg. Something this severe may take a little more time to accept, but not accepting it will only make you suffer further and solve nothing. You can be rattled with panic and worry, develop intense anger at the other driver that was involved, and fall into a deep depression for weeks or years. You may think how could this happen to someone so close to me? How could God do this to us?
Being extremely upset is a natural reaction after such a tragic situation has occurred. However, holding onto these negative feelings (like hatred for the driver), especially for a long period of time will not only cause you physical and mental distress, but will also leave you ill equipped to help your family member that desperately needs you to remain positive and strong for them. As tragic as this circumstance is, the loss of the leg could inspire the person to speak publicly about the accident, increasing awareness and saving countless lives as a result! No matter how extreme the circumstances, acceptance MUST occur for healing to take place. Learning to accept and positively perceive minor circumstances gives you the strength to endure the major ones if they arise.
One thing I must add though, losing your child is a whole different story altogether. I have been practicing conscious spirituality for some time now, following a spiritual awakening about 12 years ago. No matter how hard I try to escape the fear of something happening to my child, I have an extremely hard time doing so. Ultimately, I am fearless, have a very deep faith, love, and trust in myself and my Higher Power. I know the importance of acceptance in all areas of life, and understand that ALL happens for a reason. However, when it comes to my beloved son, I would have an extremely hard time accepting anything serious happening to him for quite some time after, I believe. I realize I don’t own my son so to speak, I am his beloved caretaker, and I am ever so grateful for him to be a part of my life. However, I would have an extremely hard time coming to grips with such a harsh reality no matter how conscious minded and detached I may be in other areas of my life.
That’s reminds me about a horrific story about a boy that got eaten alive by an alligator at Disney in 2016. That is indescribably horrific, and I could not hold back the tears for the family of that little boy. I could not ever imagine something like that happening to my little boy, acceptance would not be in the cards for me until who knows when, I just couldn’t, I love him way too much. There is no time constraint placed on acceptance, but in order to heal acceptance MUST occur.
Even wild animals have a very hard time detaching when one of their young departs. Gorillas, for instance, can exhibit very strong attachments to their young and have a very hard time letting go. A gorilla inhabitant of a German zoo named Gana was seen having a very difficult time accepting the death of her child. She carried the infant’s body around with her for many days, trying to resuscitate the infant, and safeguard it from zookeepers. Elephants are also emotional animals and develop immense attachments to their young. Elephants are known to cry, bury their young, develop depression and even starve themselves, as one elephant in an Indian zoo did, in reaction to their loss. Dolphins also have a hard time accepting death, especially of their young, and will often carry their deceased infant around for days. Both humans and animals can go through extreme pain and anguish following the loss of a loved one, especially one of their beloved children, making it near impossible to immediately accept, no matter how spiritually detached and conscious minded you are.
Morris West, an Australian writer, put it nicely, “One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.”
Although I am not religious, there are many valuable lessons that can be learned from various doctrines. Joel Osteen, an American preacher, emphasizes the need to accept a situation and move on when you encounter negative and difficult circumstances. He claims that “You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”