Want change? Try acceptance.

Posted by on Jul 26, 2011 in Personal Development | 12 comments

create change

We all want change. We want to change ourselves, our situation, the world. We may want to change others.

Change doesn’t always come in the form we want it. Change happens and we struggle against it, uncertain and fearful. Perhaps we may even want our situation to be what it was.

Sometimes we try and try and try for change, only nothing seems to change. We keep repeating the same behavior over and over, waiting for change that never comes.

I am most changed when I stop seeking, stop fighting, stop struggling and accept what is. When I stop chasing after the result I want, and honestly accept myself and my situation, somehow change follows.

In these moments of acceptance I am also more open to life changing in ways I didn’t expect, and when I set aside the result I thought I wanted, I often find opportunity.

This idea is what I refer to as the three “A”s of change: Awareness, Acceptance and Action.

I begin with the awareness of something I want to change. Maybe it’s something I don’t like, or something I think is holding me back. I learned long ago that I can’t change others, so I turn my focus to me. Maybe I’m the one that needs to change, to adjust my attitude or actions. First, I must acknowledge what is and isn’t working for me.

Today I’m struggling with comparing myself to others. I want to have the success, the results, I perceive other bloggers have that I don’t. I want to have more daily visits, more comments, more followers, more re-tweets.

I want these things because in my impatience I somehow think that some reward comes with having them, even though I know that isn’t true. The value in everything I do in life is in the journey, not the destination. It’s in the gratitude I feel for my many blessings, it’s in the love I extend to myself and others, it’s in the satisfaction of reaching for my goals every day, little by little.

Will my life somehow be improved when I’m getting 500+ visitors per day? Will I feel better about myself? The answer to both questions is no. I have a great life and I’m happy with what I have today.

At this point I often want to jump from awareness of the problem to action, though skipping the important step of acceptance often creates irritability and unreasonableness. If I’ve tried to skip acceptance, I can always come back to it.

Until I accept life as it is, I can’t know what appropriate action to take. In my haste I may perceive that I certain result or action is needed, though I often find upon reflection that the thing I thought I wanted to happen isn’t the only positive result that can be achieved. Before I can take action, I must accept what is.

I find myself at acceptance, and this idea is challenging for me. I don’t want to accept life, I want to change it to my liking. Then I realize changing life to my liking is unreasonable and unrealistic.

Okay, acceptance. All I have to do is stop thinking and see what is. I can write a letter to the person or thing I choose to accept, simply acknowledging it’s there and the impact on my life.

Dear comparison and impatience,

Oh, hello, there you are. I’m quite certain I got the idea that I needed you from somewhere, though I can’t quite remember where. Perhaps you served some purpose in my life at some point in time.

I do hope you aren’t planning to stay long, because I have things to do. As long as you are here, I will do my best to make peace with you. Please do not track mud on the carpet. Thank you.

Once I’ve faced the problem my part is more-or-less done for now. Lest you think I forgot about action, I didn’t. After all, I’m writing this blog, aren’t I?

Instead of trying to banish the experiences I don’t want, or wallowing in them, I am accepting them. Sometimes that is the action, and I am released from the expectations and judgment I may place upon myself or others without having to do anything.

I take action by doing the next right thing. Sometimes that right thing is simply doing what is right- not trying to change life to my liking, but instead focusing on being an honest, productive, kind and happy person. Whatever comes of behaving this way will be great, I have no doubt!

After writing this, I already feel less unreasonable and irritable. I don’t know how I will feel in an hour, or a day, and I accept that.

I love your comments! How do you deal with change? What can you accept instead of trying to change?

Image courtesy of dhammza.

12 Comments

  1. I think learning to make good decisions will result in some good changes in our life. There are some changes that we want in our life so that we can get some positive results in life. To make these changes, we have to make good decisions and stick to them.

    • Thanks for your comment, Andy!

      I agree good decision making is essential to positive change! As is making a habit out of healthy life choices.

      Be grateful,
      Chrysta

  2. Hi Chrysta,

    I am sure many who read this post will be nodding as they do; acknowledging the conflict they experience between wanting change and practicing acceptance.

    I am given endless opportunities to practice acceptance and sometimes I do just fine and other times I am not able to catch myself until I have beaten myself up somewhat.

    Loved your letter to Impatience and Comparison. They are always at the door and it’s fine to open it, say hello and then close it again. Funny how they sneak in through the smallest cracks when you aren’t looking though.

    One thing I struggle to accept is not being more purposeful than I am. What a relief when I realize that I couldn’t be any more purposeful than I am right now. And so I relax and the energy flows again… until next time. :)

    ~Marcus

    • Thanks for your comment, Marcus!

      It’s a challenge for me to accept feelings I might classify as negative, such as feelings of insignificance or unworthiness. I want to banish these feelings from my life because I don’t like to feel them. Usually I can take a step back and realize that the full spectrum of human emotion serves purpose in living a good life. The emotions I don’t want to feel are often the emotions that keep my ego in check, provided I do not dwell on them. A balanced life means feeling a range of emotions, learning lessons from some and embracing the joy of others.

      Thank you for sharing your struggle with purposefulness. I something think I struggle with being too purposeful, and having difficultly being at rest. In these times I like to think of a saying I heard, “don’t just do something, sit there.”

      It helps when I can remember that I am perfect just as I am in this moment, and when the next moment comes, I will be ready for it. I am already doing all that I know how and am capable of doing. It feels great when I can be at peace with that. When I can’t, well that’s just another opportunity to practice acceptance.

      Namaste,
      Chrysta

  3. Chrysta, aloha. Terrific post on a very important topic. Before you can change, you do have know where you are and accept it. Then, as you have so wisely done, ask yourself questions.

    As a blogger, I can absolutely relate to your questions on when you have 500+ visitors a day will your life improve or will you feel better about yourself. As you point out, it is too easy to get caught up in comparisons that are your perceptions of what is happening with others.

    Why most of us persist in doing this to ourselves s beyond me. Quite honestly, Chrysta, I can’t think of a single person I would like to change places with in life. Like you, I love my life.

    Here is a quote from Hawthorne that I think is particularly appropriate for your beautiful post:

    “Happiness is like a butterfly, which when pursued is just beyond your grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly may alight upon you.”

    Best wishes for a magnificent day. Aloha. Janet

    • Janet,

      Thank you for sharing that beautiful quote from Hawthorne. It’s quite lovely.

      It can be so easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others, or thinking we need reach a certain milestone to be worthy of success. We each get to define success for ourselves, regardless of what other people think of us. Ultimately, for me, success is loving life and that’s something I’m already doing.

      With gratitude,
      Chrysta

  4. This thoroughly sounds reasonable. I like the idea, but of course, once we accept ourselves completely, change happens on its own…

    • I’m thankful for your comments, Jaky! Your insight is true in my life, when I accept myself completely I am changed for the better.

      Namaste,
      Chrysta

  5. Wonderful post. Wise woman. Thanks.

    • Thank you, kindly, for your comment. I’m thrilled you enjoyed this article and hope to see you back soon.

      Chrysta

  6. LOVE this message. It reminds me of a blog post I shared just last week, Love Begins With You. I don’t know how we get caught up in forgetting these things when they are seemingly so easy to remember. It’s common sense when I’m reading your post, we so easy to forget when we step out the front door into the busyness of the hustle and bustle of life. I’m bookmarking this post specifically to return when I’m forgetting how to remain grounded. Thank you!

    Link to Love Begins With You post (if interested): http://seeabeautifulworld.blogspot.com/2011/07/love-begins-with-you.html

    • I am grateful for your comment, Lydia, and looking forward to checking out your blog entry. Please feel welcome to share your blog links here!

      Namaste,
      Chrysta

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