A little too often I get wrapped up in my head that’s full of thoughts about how certain aspects of my life are less than ideal. These thoughts lead me down a well-worn path my brain likes to travel on, especially at 3 am.
The tangled mess that is my repeating thoughts have weight. Real, physical weight I can feel when hyper-focused. This is a common practice that many of us deal with every day.
We start by thinking less than stellar thoughts, which create physical reactions in the form of emotion, causing us to take action in some fashion (i.e. cry, kick something, yell… you get the idea.)
Acceptance can lighten the load.
When we wish the situation we’re facing were different, or when we wish our lives were different, better, more in line with how we want them to be but struggle to achieve that, we create a heaviness. We unknowingly begin to fight against an invisible enemy that’s built from our creative and powerful superbrain.
It shows up in different ways in our lives. It can be when we snap at our kids, aggressively honk our horns at slow drivers, roll our eyes and sigh heavily (so all can hear!) at the lady in front of us at the check-out line who’s looking for exact change.
Or it can be even worse, we feel depressed at the way things are and think it’s hopeless, or talk down on ourselves… again. We stay in one spot, stuck because we think it can never happen for us, so why bother trying. Status quo becomes our way of life — and it sucks and we know it.
Our brains are so powerful that we physically create emotions that we can’t endure, so we cry, we get angry, we push against the people we love because our brains are so hyper-focused on the negative that we can’t feel anything else but the emotions our thoughts created.
And we think we’re not good enough.
We’re so good at it that we don’t even realize our own power. We think it’s outside forces creating our angst. We think it’s our crummy, dealt a bad hand, luck.
But it’s not. It’s us. It’s us pushing against circumstances. We don’t want to see things the way they are, we can’t accept them. We want things to be different.
Wishing things were different creates pain.
My father passed away from Alzheimer’s a few years ago and now my mother is showing signs of it as well. I can easily get caught up in the emotion of it all, the unjust hand that was dealt, and I have. I’ve spent days crying over it, suffering over the pain of it, fearing how things will be for my mother in a few years, wishing it would all go away and we could go back to how things were.
In all the effort and energy and angst spent wishing things were different, nothing changed. The days I spent focusing on it were days I wasn’t present in my own life. They were bad, moody days. And while crying can feel good, when you let it go on for too long, it makes the situation feel even more terrible and terrifying.
And the worst part? I wasn’t able to change a thing about my situation. All that spent energy didn’t bring about solutions or new options that could help improve what I was dealing with.
In the end, there was only one thing that helped, and that continues to be helpful. I accepted what was happening, and that there was nothing I could do to make it better or make it go away.
There’s peace in acceptance.
When we don’t accept certain realities that we’re living with, and we continue to wish things were different, we push against them. We kick and scream. We pull back and disengage. We throw a lovely pity party and lose energy, time, and a little bit of our sanity.
The mental suffering you create is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. — Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle is the master of living in the moment, seeing and experiencing life as its unfolding. He lives in-real time.
When I get overwhelmed with the sucky parts of life, it’s in the acceptance that gives me the room to breathe. Those moments are visceral. I feel the weight lift off me and dissipate. Those are divine moments.
Of course, it finds its way back eventually, I’m no Eckhart, but I’m able to find moments of peace amidst upsetting life circumstances through acceptance. Acceptance eliminates suffering.
Acceptance places you in the driver's seat. With it, you have more control over your thoughts, emotions, and your entire life when you realize that power.
AM Costanzo is a wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help people feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!