Change, especially of the unexpected and unwanted variety can really suck.
Humans stay with the familiar and resist change from an evolutionary perspective because Familiar = Safety.
Whenever change occurs, the natural reaction is to fight. Fighting takes many forms including anxiety, avoidance, stress, depression, etc. It can feel demoralizing and we can feel stuck.
But there is a Choice. Well, actually a few choices.
#1, You can expend time, effort, and energy fighting the change or trying to maintain what you had.
#2, You can passively resist the change and complain, stress, and hurt – therefore prolonging suffering.
#3, You can practice ACCEPTANCE and understand, “It is what it is” and choosing actions to move yourself forward to something (or someone) that is meaningful.
You see, usually whenever there is a change that doesn’t feel good, we take options #1 or #2. The concept that something can be accepted without being liked seems foreign to a lot of people.
Think about a change that has not been pleasant. Ask yourself,
How long did I let this impact me?
What did I miss out on while I was worrying and letting the situation impact me?
Was it worth it?
When I ask clients these questions (or variations of them) the answer the the last question (about being worth it) is almost always “No.”. It wasn’t worth the time, effort, or energy that you expended resisting change or situation.
Don’t beat yourself up… if you’re like the numerous other people in the world that have done this, you can use it as a learning experience to embrace acceptance.
Acceptance is about rethinking our relationship with unpleasant situations or changes. Unpleasant changes and feelings will likely always exist. We have control over some things, but we tend to worry most about the things over which we have the least amount of control.
If we choose to allow situations to take up our time, effort, and energy, it prolongs our suffering.
While the unpleasant change or situations may not be under our control, the amount we suffer is.
Suffering occurs whenever we worry about things we cannot change.
Acceptance doesn’t allow us to change the facts or the situation, but it allows us to focus on moving forward instead on dwelling on what we are going to eventually have to accept anyway. Acceptance saves us a lot of suffering and drama.
Once we make the decision to not allow something unpleasant to tick to us by accepting and acknowledging it, our brains are free to focus on what’s meaningful for us.
Have you ever experienced a situation in which, at the time, you thought was the worst thing ever? Something that you thought you wouldn’t recover from?
Fast forward to the time when you had made peace, moved on, and accepted whatever the situation was. Have you ever been grateful for that situation? Have you or someone you know ever described it as a “blessing in disguise?”
If you haven’t yet experienced that yourself, I am sure that someone you know has and you will eventually.
I have simplified the concept of acceptance in this post. It is, in fact, very complicated and takes a lot of practice, but it is totally achievable.
If you’re feeling stuck or like you don’t know your direction, odds are you could benefit from some help with acceptance. Reach out