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.