On Acceptance

park sunriseLife is Good.    My Inner Curmudgeon hates that crap but my Inner Curmudgeon is a black and white thinker.  He sees Life is Good and thinks Always Good.  He may ask, What world are you watching?  Over the years, I’ve learned to be less literal than my Inner Curmudgeon would like me to be.  I can see Life is Good and subconsciously insert Usually.  Or Mostly.  Or Sometimes.  Which depends upon what is going on in my life at the moment, as well as on my attitude, whether I am being Bud Light or Bud Dark.  But my Inner Curmudgeon and I agree on one thing (many, actually) – sometimes, Life Sucks.   We have to do things that we dread doing.  We lose loved ones or friends.  Hopefully, it’s just the end of a relationship but sometimes it’s worse.  We endure financial travails or illness.  Nope.  Life isn’t always good.  My longest standing reader, Terri of These Are Days, recently wrote a post about worrying about her grown children, even though they are not in her care anymore.  A girl near the age of her children was killed in an auto accident, which set her to worrying about her children’s travels by automobile.  It’s natural, most of her commenters said.  What Moms do.  Believe me, I know.  Dads, too.  My kids have quite a few years on Terri’s but they’ve made choices that would make my hair stand on end … if I had any.  I have been letting worry over my kids … and actions I need to take … darken my still young 2014, too.   I’ve been Bud Dark.

Thinking about my situation … and Terri’s post … I realized that for me, only Acceptance helps.  There are people who tell me, If you worry, why pray? – If you pray, why worry?  They tell me Things work out for the best and Everything happens for a reason.  I envy those for whom such platitudes work.  But I’d answer that sometimes I pray and bad things happen anyway.  And for me, Cosmic Reasons don’t ease the pain when life sucks.  Wikipedia says Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.  That is:

If I understand, things are just as they are; if I don’t understand, things are just as they are –  Zen saying

I’ve needed something more spiritual than that, a sense that there may be a purpose to something even though I haven’t the faintest idea what it is.  I personally believe I can find a purpose, something to learn in everything, and looking for it helps keep my eyes on the road ahead.  For me, that’s required faith, a belief in a Higher Power that guides this crazy universe we live in.   When I pray, I may pray for certain outcomes, but mostly, I pray for Acceptance and that is usually available but rarely easy.  It’s work.  But when I’m in Acceptance, I’m not paralyzed by situations, I’m less inclined to second guess myself, and, in the long run, I worry less because it gives me a means to walk through anything.  Yes, with joy, anger, sadness.  But at least I’m walking.

Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings – Arthur Rubinstein

How do you achieve Acceptance?  Do you?

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9 Comments on “On Acceptance”

  1. territerri Says:

    I guess like most, I have trouble with acceptance. We so badly want to control life, but it’s simply not possible. I hear bad news, such as parents losing a child, or a loved one suffering from cancer, and in my worst times, these things make me certain that my “turn” is just waiting for me somewhere down the road. I don’t want to live my days like that – expecting the worst and anticipating it’s just a matter of time. I need to find some balance in my anxieties – knowing that the worst life has to offer could be in my future, and then again, maybe isn’t. And either way, I should be trying my best to enjoy and appreciate the best that each day has to offer.

    Adding another thing to my personal goals – learn acceptance. Thanks, Bud.

    • oldereyes Says:

      Acceptance is tough because I don’t think it comes naturally to our egos … and it’s really hard to measure. The only time we’re aware we’re not doing it is when we find ourselves in a malaise. I don’t know anyone who finds it easy. Posts like this are as much for me as anyone else.

  2. Well, if we define acceptance as Wiki does, I get there pretty quickly; I usually know there’s not a damned thing I can do about something. For me, acceptance is a few steps beyond that – not just knowing there’s nothing that I can do, but being okay with there being nothing I can do… being okay with the situation no matter what. That usually takes getting past things like shock, fear, dismay, anger, worry, hurt, guilt, obligation (usually perceived, rather than real), disappointment and probably 27 other things.

    I can only get there once I’ve worked through everything else. As you know, sometimes they’re easier to work through than others. I’m not sure I’ve completely accepted a thing or two yet… but I’m getting there. Usually it comes with emotional exhaustion; I’ve put myself through the ringer with every coulda, shoulda, woulda, maybe, what if, if only and how dare they… I’ve looked at the situation from every angle I can conceive and those others conceive for me… and I just plain wear out my head and my heart. At that point, it’s either let go or be dragged.

    Sometimes I get dragged. But then, that’s my fault.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I find that writing about it … as in this post … reminds me to try harder to accept things as they are but you’re right that sometimes, it’s the last house on the block.

  3. JudahFirst Says:

    I’m so glad I “ran into” this post today! (Thanks to Monster in My Closet for the referral.)

    My life is in a shambles currently and I was having an interesting conversation with God (maybe just with myself) about my perspective on it. I reminded myself that I cannot change any of the circumstances I find myself in, most especially the people I’m in those circumstances with. I then reminded myself that I need to find healthy outlets for the grief, frustration, anger that bubbles up to the surface. Now I know why on New Year’s Eve I pulled out the puzzle that sits more than half complete on my kitchen table.

    For me, acceptance means that it’s ok for me to NOT be ok. Acceptance has to start with my own messed up feelings. Only then can I move into being ok with what is. Thanks for the encouragement to accept. It’s a reminder to me that I’m not in control (that is an illusion hard to stop clinging to for all of us, I think) as well as a reminder to rest, be still, and stop trying to fix things.

    God bless us both on our journeys,

    • oldereyes Says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful. When I write a post like this, I’m usually reminding myself of something I already know but don’t always do (probably because it doesn’t lie along the path of least resistance). So, while we may not be in the same degree of shambles, we are both dealing with issues that are hard to accept. As you say, God bless us both.

      • JudahFirst Says:

        Yeah, my husband reminds me all the time, “If you want to know what a preacher is dealing with, listen to about 4 of his sermons. Whatever he’s preaching about – that’s what he’s struggling with.” We all write from our struggles, I think – that is, if it’s any good, it comes out of them. The crap comes out when I try to write about something I’ve never experienced. 🙂

  4. cherperz Says:

    Very powerful post, Bud. I don’t think of life in terms as always being good but I never have felt that life would mean as much if we always had an easy road. Sometimes the bumps and twists help us appreciate when things are going smoothly.

    I am not good at acceptance though. I do worry about things and often, I want to take action.Of course, there are numerous situations there are no actions for me to take…so I worry and pray..and hope to see a resolution at some point. I tend to cling to the “this too shall pass” philosophy. It may not end the way I want but everything comes to an end at some point. Sometimes acceptance is the only option.

    • oldereyes Says:

      When I get out of acceptance, especially with difficult issues, I find myself exhibiting the symptoms of mild depression, isolating from others, and getting short with people, even those I love. I’ve gotten better on not focusing on problems but sometimes, that degrades into not doing anything about them when I can. Then I rememer, that, as you say, acceptance is the only option.

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