Fighting Acceptance (Again)

Taped to the bottom edge of my computer is a small, green post-it note that says acceptance It was written by me in black permanent ink, a reminder to myself for weeks like this.

It wasn’t a particularly bad week, but it was a frustrating one. For some reason I didn’t sleep well all week, and and I woke up several times each night from bizarre, vivid dreams. It made me feel tired during the day, and I didn’t have any motivation. Everything seemed to take so much effort, and I questioned if anything was even worth it.

So I sat at my desk and watched the eagle cam on one monitor, and stared at the word acceptance on the other.

Those who know me have always commented on how cheerful and happy I am (though those who really know me know that isn’t always the case). I know how to put on a good face in public and muddle through without doing too much damage. But sometimes it’s hard to break through the wall of gloom.

Oftentimes when I struggle with a situation, I ask myself: what advice would I give someone else in the same predicament?

I would tell them to stop beating themselves up for feeling less than their usual selves, that this is just the way things are today. It’s not the end of the world, nothing bad has happened, and everyone gets a little down in the dumps.

Everything changes, even bad moods.

And it did. I did some yoga and worked in the garden, settled down with a good book and listened to music, spent time working in the garden, and remembered all the good things in my life (and, yes, there are many things to be thankful for). The fog lifted, I focused on other things, and I realized I felt better.

It’s so difficult to accept things without trying to change them. Certainly there are things in life that are unacceptable and need to be changed, but the more mundane things in my life–like a bad mood–can sometimes be the toughest to shake. I spend so much energy fighting stupid things like this, and it’s senseless.

It’s like beating your head against the wall–or fighting acceptance, once again.

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6 comments

  1. skippingstones

    I can relate to this in many ways. You know from reading my blog that I tend to have this, “oh, woe is me” kind of post, talking about how terrible I feel about a failure. And then after I get that out of my system, it’s all, “what was I so upset about, ’cause it’s all good, yo”. I’m about to write that post right now, about how the resolutions went so much better in March once I let go of that anxiety of how much I was not getting done.

    Your thoughts (and struggles with) acceptance have always intrigued me and made me think. I don’t usually associate my ups and downs with acceptance, but that’s what it is. I’m accepting that failure is an option, that things will be okay, that bad moods happen, that tomorrow is another day, that I am not a terrible person – that I may have failed (at least in my own eyes), but I am not a failure.

    I’m realizing that thinking something is one thing, and accepting it is another. Accepting doesn’t have to mean “settling for less”, which is how I tend to use that word. It also means taking something in to yourself, receiving it, and incorporating it into what you already know, have, or feel.

    • Mind Margins

      Almost as soon as I published the post I felt instantly better. Today it’s hard to remember why I felt so gloomy all week.

      I think that’s what I mean about “acceptance.” It’s taken me years to get it down to one idea, one word, that I need to stop fighting against things that happen to me or things I don’t like and just accept them. It doesn’t mean I have to like them, or that things can’t change, it merely means to accept what IS, right now, and deal from there.

      It’s the internal battle against what I don’t like that’s just dumb. It always turns into something much bigger than it is, and I wind up beating myself up over something small that I turned into Mt. Everest.

      Why do we always have to make things so complicated???

      • skippingstones

        I have no idea 🙂

        But you make good sense – fretting over things doesn’t do any good, it just amps up all the negative. If you take a look at what’s going on, accept that this is the deal for right now, then you can deal with it in the best way you know how. So much better for you mentally and emotionally (which is kind of the same thing, in many ways).

        I know I just restated what you already said, and I am realizing I do that a lot, but it helps me understand it in my mind, I think, when I put it in my own words. So, I hope that doesn’t get on your nerves too much.

      • Mind Margins

        Your comments could never, ever get on my nerves. You always have such great insights and make me see things more deeply than I did before.

  2. westerner54

    I needed to read exactly this today. Beating myself up about foolish things (because I can’t play a mandolin song perfectly…really?) and forgetting to focus on the here and now, which is actually quite wonderful. Thanks!

    • Mind Margins

      You’re most welcome! I wish I knew why it’s so hard to remember what’s important when I get in one of those funks. Sometimes I think it’s nothing but pure stubbornness.

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