WORDS TO LIVE BY: Acceptance

I wanted to start sharing some experiences and thoughts that I think many or all of us had – I have started sharing them with friends and people I meet in person and they seem to resonate. Most of us know or already understand this but we all need reminded. I am going to call this ‘series’ WORDS TO LIVE BY.

WORDS TO LIVE BY is actually a workbook I created for my daughters many years ago. I went into the dictionary and elsewhere and picked out words that I wanted them to know such as honesty, persistence, happiness, etc. etc. Each page has a word, a definition that my wife and I tweaked, and space below where they took notes and drew pictures. We often sat around the dining room table and did a word a week or so. We have gotten away from that and this reminds me to get back to it. What I found was that it was just as helpful to me, if not more, as it was for them.

Today’s (and the first) Word to Live By is Acceptance.

I was talking with a friend struggling with a situation and frankly he was fighting it. He’s in a jamb and it seemes like there are limited options. It reminded me of vivid memories of a time that I left a ‘safe’ job and started working for a small business. The owner brought me in and was excited by my addition and the new potential. Essentially I was to be a junior partner of sorts. Lots of expectations and things were said at the begining. We were all excited and started working hard.

(WATCH THE VIDEO HERE TOO http://youtu.be/oo_-4NDPync)

Then things changed. Those promises that were made suddenly were changed or simply left unfulfilled. The atmosphere became hostile and contentious. Payments weren’t made on time, he changed some of the rules. He was not the person I thought he was. I was not in a strong position in many ways and I had very little leverage. I felt personally hurt, I was angry, I felt victimized.

I had to continue to work for him because I needed the money for my family and I. I began sending out resumes and networking for Plan B. I spent most or all of my time thinking about either how he wronged me and what if I lost the job, how would I pay for my mortgage, what was the safest job that I could take so that I could provide for my family and avoid financial ruin. Yet I didn’t want to get into some other bad job. I often felt sick. My head and thoughts were constantly either worrying or trying to solve the problem. I was in the past or future, never the present. My heart and emotions were all negative. I was so tense and stressed. It was one of the worst times in my life. I was embarrassed.

Then one day I simply said that was enough. I was missing the present moments with my wife and daughters. I was making me sick. I simply had toaccept where I was and the situation that I was in. Right away I felt a little better. I didn’t solve my problems overnight but I was able to accept my situation and then many of the bad emotions left. Even the contentiousness between us went away to a large degree. I didn’t give up and I didn’t surrender, I accepted the situation, took responsibility for it, took action and moved ahead. Things did improve. I became less picky and concerned about the future. The opportunity that came to me was something I did not nor probably could not have ever considered. It was a surprise. It felt like the opportunity actually ‘started’ or came about around the same time I ‘accepted’ things. Overall I’m not a big “acceptance kind of guy”. I rarely talk about it. But it did help and is necessary. I was swimming against the current and just kept draining my energy and spirit. Acceptance took me with the current so I could finally get moving.

Deepak Chopra talked about Acceptance in his book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.” He says that Acceptance is a key item – necessary for what he calls the “Law of Least Effort”. Acceptance, to Chopra, means simply that you make a commitment “today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur.” Furthermore he says the we should know that “this moment is as it should be” and that it is a culmination of all the experiences and moments you had in the past. This moment is as it is because the entire universe is as it is. When you struggle against this moment, you’re actually struggling against the entire universe. Instead, you can make the decision that today you will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. It is ok for you to wish or want things to be different in the future but you must first accept things as they are now.

Furthermore Chopra says, which I found to be a great reminder, when you feel frustrated or upset by a person or situation, remember that you are not reacting to the person or the situation, but to your feelings about the person or situation. These are YOUR feelings, and your feelings are not someone else’s fault.

I’ll leave you with a quote from a recent Mike Dooley tut.com post:

In a slightly different world, if dogs believed in “soul mates” when it came to choosing their owners… can you imagine how lonesome most would be?

Oh, there’s definitely room for “picky,” but there’s also room for “surprise me.”

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