“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein
Life is challenging. These challenges can be taxing on us, not only because of the situation or issue itself, but also because of the stress taken on when ruminating about our problems. We become paralyzed by fear, anger, and sadness, and don't know what to do. Other times we tell ourselves things will get better, saying this January will be different or by the spring the predicament will be over. It is disappointing when you have tried to resolve situations hoping that by certain markers things would be different. This leads to frustration, getting bogged down, and being unhappy in our circumstances.
We might yearn for health issues to be resolved, want to own our own home when finances are tight, wish to be at a different place in our career, or long for Martha Stewart-esque organization when family life is chaotic. These are all reasonable wants. In response to our desires, we stress, scheme, and lie awake wishing things were better. The reality is, a scary health report might have to be addressed with an equally scary treatment, home ownership might be a 2016 realization, a new baby in the house might not be the time to advance in your career, and the toddler years might not bring with it a picture perfect living room. We need to examine what resources/energy/time we have or don't have at this moment, and by acknowledging this, we can let go of some of the expectations we have on ourselves that aren't working.
Today, I want to throw out a challenge to make room to accept where you are and who you are, and the reality surrounding it all. This doesn't mean you can't have initiative and make plans, but do so without the frustration, struggle, and disappointment. Acceptance of your circumstances can take the pressure off and provide you some space and energy needed to invest in your goals realistically. It is often the unmet expectations that cause frustrations and rob us of our peace.
In the business book Good to Great, Jim Collins interviewed James Stockdale—a POW survivor during the Vietnam War. James said this of how he survived: “I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade." James added, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."
You are likely not reading this article as a POW, and your circumstances might pale in comparison, or maybe not. Maybe you are in the fight of your life. Whatever your situation, I think the idea is relatable. It talks about the power of accepting your reality, and having faith that you will make it out of the circumstances. Acceptance of our reality can help us live within it in greater peace and even enjoyment.