Acceptance and Keeping LIFE SIMPLE
By: Carol Meloy, LMSW
When most people hear the word acceptance they immediately think it means that one must resign or surrender to the given circumstances, whether current or past, to immediately provide forgiveness to individuals that have hurt you.
Good News! That is not the meaning of acceptance when it comes to healing past/present pain or circumstances. Acceptance is the ability to look at the situation in a way that you realize “it is what it is.” Understanding that you cannot change it; however, you will not allow it to continue to destroy your life.
A long time ago, I would have felt the same about acceptance. I would be the first to say “No way, not going to happen!” Since gaining an improved awareness of what true acceptance means, I have learned to deal with life’s challenges and embrace acceptance daily.
Within the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) philosophy, there is a simple tool that everyone can use. DBT provides four options to deal with a current problem/issue or one you have been struggling with over time (i.e.: past trauma):
- Can I solve this problem? If I can, then solve it and move on. If no, see other choices.
- Can I change how I feel about it? If not, move to next two choices.
- I can accept it. (It is what it is) If not, you move down to “miserable”
- Stay miserable.
Yes, it is that SIMPLE! Four Choices! On a daily basis we are faced with circumstances beyond our control that have the potential to get us to the state of being miserable. The key is to remember that “staying miserable” is only one of the choices! If you find yourself stuck in this state, remember you have other choices.
I know what you are thinking: you have no clue as to what I am going through in my life and/or you do not know what I have been through in my life. You are right! I do not know what you are personally going through or what you have been through; however, I absolutely know that if you embrace and learn to use this one simple tool you will have a much healthier mind/life.
I do not know of many people that have not experienced pain, suffering, or challenges in life; yet, over the course of time I have seen people heal from the pain, suffering, and challenges by developing acceptance. Not understanding, not forgiveness, not saying it is or was okay….just accepting it as “it is what it is.”
My hope to everyone reading this article is that you begin to choose happiness by developing acceptance to whatever challenges life has thrown your way. So, the next time a problem or an issue develops in your life…..always remember the four choices and work your way through it. It really works!
KEEP IT SIMPLE: MY FOUR CHOICES….WHICH WILL I CHOOSE TODAY?