Q: What is wrong with trying to control the circumstances of our lives?
A: It’s important to distinguish between those circumstances that are set or fixed and those that are not. There is a broad range of events and circumstances that we cannot change or control: computer glitches, equipment failures, flight cancelations, and bureaucratic inefficiencies, to name just a few.
We also can’t change people’s basic natures and ways–as much as we may wish to.
When we focus on trying to change or control such things, we not only get frustrated and waste our time and energy, we also fail to see some options that could alleviate our discomfort.
On the other hand, when we “accept” such set circumstances—which is to say, acknowledge our powerlessness over changing them—we can work on improving them or diminishing their impact on us.
For example, if we are stressed out because we are in a traffic jam that will make us late for an important appointment, we can stop trying to maneuver in and out of lanes, fretting as we do, and try to accept the uncomfortable “what is.”
Doing so will allow us to focus on things that can help reduce our stress and anxiety. For example, we could pull over to call the person we are meeting and let them know we are running late because of heavy traffic. We could listen to nice music and be grateful for the comfort and safety of our car.
And we can remind ourselves that most things are not nearly as important or urgent as we believe them to be.
Thus, while we may be powerless over changing unpleasant circumstances, we do have the power to change our reactions and responses to them.
Core Questions to Ponder:
What does it take before you are able to accept the unchangeable?
What feelings and emotions are stirred up? Do they lessen after acceptance?
In the meantime, remember to
Let It Go—and Accept “What Is!”
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