“Accept what is. Let go of what was. And have faith in what will be.”
Accept What Is.
Acceptance is about dealing with life on life’s terms and not resisting what we cannot or choose not to change. Radical acceptance is about saying yes to life, just as it is.
People often say, “I can’t stand this,” “This isn’t fair,” “This can’t be true,” and “It shouldn’t be this way.” It’s almost as if we think refusing to accept the truth will keep it from being true or that accepting means agreeing. Accepting doesn’t mean agreeing.
Fighting reality is exhausting. Refusing to accept that something we can’t change. Accepting reality is difficult when life is painful. No one wants to experience pain, disappointment, sadness, or loss. However, difficult and bad experiences are a part of life. We add suffering to our pain when we attempt to avoid or resist those emotions. We can stop suffering by practicing acceptance.
Life is full of experiences, some are enjoyable, and others not so much. When we push away or attempt to avoid feelings of sadness and pain, we also diminish our ability to feel joy. Avoidance of emotions often leads to depression and anxiety. Avoidance can push off pain in the short run, but they only make the situation worse in the long run.
Acceptance is simple. But it requires practice. Accepting traffic is heavy, for example, with a smile is essential for coping and living a more contented life. We are still disappointed, sad, and perhaps frustrated in heavy traffic, but we don’t add the pain of non-acceptance to those emotions and make things worse.
Let Go of What Was.
“Let go,” our friends tell us. It sounds so simple, yet it feels so hard. We can’t stop holding to a grudge or a betrayal. The past captures our undivided attention whenever we want to move on. Our review mirror seems to follow us around.
According to neuroscience, our brain handles negative and positive information differently. Negative experiences require more thinking and, thus, are processed more thoroughly. This causes our brains to become better at remembering adverse events.
Reliving sad memories makes us feel like a hamster in the wheel — no matter how hard we try, we can’t move forward. We can’t change how our brain works. But we can train ourselves to get off of the hamster wheel. That requires cutting our emotional attachment to the past, predominantly negative experiences. We usually have a hard time accepting that someone hurt us. Recognizing an unhappy ending makes us feel weak and embarrassed.
Most people can’t let go of the past because they don’t appreciate their presence. Reframing our relationship with our history requires us to stop thinking of how things should be and accept them for what they are.
As Dalai Lama said, “Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”
Letting go of the past doesn’t mean that some things in the past weren’t good. It’s about remembering those good moments instead of allowing an unhappy ending to cloud the whole experience. Want to let go of the past? Start by appreciating what you have here and now in your present.
And Faith in What Will Be.
Laziness is human nature, and we tend to want to do less demanding things. To change our behaviors or develop a new habit, we need to create as little resistance or friction as possible to build that momentum or motion for the actions to follow. Acceptance helps us understand the unique situation and set the best activities to help us ease into achieving our goal. We look forward believing in better tomorrows.
With a big picture look at the horizon, we must take consistent steps toward our vision of the future. Neuroscience has shown that our brains fire a signal every time we do something. Consistent in firing the same signal when forming a new habit builds a brand new neural network. Our bodies can go into default mode. Suppose we can develop a habit of exercising for five minutes daily since we make it from small actions. In that case, we can almost effortlessly set the motions for a sustainable practice built into our lifestyle. In other words, once we accept our situation, we can adapt to our environment to make it most accessible for us to have faith in what will be.
Until next time. Travel safe.