What’s the biggest obstacle you face in living the life you want to be living?
That’s quite a question and you can probably reel off a list easily enough. For me the reason I find myself struggling is I’m not accepting what is actually happening in the first place. I’m in denial…and that’s not a river in Egypt either.
A couple of years back I was having some problems with my car. I turned to Jonathan, my partner, and said “I wish I’d never bought that car”. His reply? “Well, you did”.
That may seem harsh yet it isn’t. It was the reality. It also made sense. Once I saw what was really going on, took responsibility and accepted it, the internal conflict I’d been feeling between what I wanted and what was actually going on changed instantly. It felt resolved. My energy shifted, surprisingly quickly, and life felt simpler and easier. I felt I had a choice rather than hoping things would be different. I took action, called the garage and got the car sorted.
Its not limited to cars either. It can be anything and everything…your past, age, job, relationships, where you live, physical and mental health, sexuality, weight, body and money are all examples where you may find you want things to be different without first accepting what is going on. I call this the ‘if only’ approach to life, and its often filled with regret and blame and takes a huge amount of your energy.
Take your age. Not wanting to acknowledge the number of years since you were born because you want to be younger, you feel ‘old’ and others will judge you. You spend energy, sometimes lots of it, denying your age through creams, potions, perhaps even lying jokingly or purposefully, leaving no room to celebrate being you or your life.
Your desire to be younger isn’t an option. Accepting your age doesn’t make you old. Far from it. It means you can decide how you want feel as you live your life regardless of your age and what others think of you.
You can stop spending your time, and money, and become free from focusing on not wanting to be your age. You may even learn to celebrate, really celebrate, your birthdays with a deep joy rather than dread being another year older.
Its the same with sexuality. There is an enormous cost denying who you want to love. One way self loathing, shame and fear develops is feeling unworthy by not accepting your sexuality. You end up living a life scared of being yourself or ‘found out’ and worry what others will think of us.
Learning to love yourself is about knowing and accepting who you are and who you love and not focusing on how others may judge you. Of course accepting your sexuality doesn’t necessarily mean you‘ll be happy immediately. It does mean you are calling the shots though.
When we are living without acceptance of who we are or what is going on, we are focusing on what we don’t want rather than what we do. When that happens it’s not surprising we never get what we want. Our focus goes our energy flows.
Accepting ourselves, or what is going on, can be incredibly tough and perhaps that’s one reason we shy away from it? Acceptance doesn’t always happen instantly as it did with my car!
Life though isn’t about being easy all the time. Without the hard times we wouldn’t develop those qualities of resilience and tenacity that enable us to cope with the challenges life throws up. I’m not advocating that life must be a continual struggle more that its about a balance of putting the effort in and other times when it feels easy.
What acceptance does is give us the opportunity to see ourselves and our lives differently, refocus our energy on what we do want and feel we have a choice. Acceptance creates awareness and from that the possibility of responsibility, self worth and self determination.
There is an argument, some people feel its a fear, that by acceptance you will give in, or give up, and be less motivated to change. You’re not and you won’t be unless that’s what you want. You are dealing with what you are feeling and what’s happening from a powerful starting point.
You’re taking responsibility with awareness and that can be followed by action. That’s a heck of a boost to your self confidence.
Acceptance is the first step in changing your life. The second step is up to you as well.
Enjoy the day you create.