Some Simple Steps for Releasing and Empowering Yourself
There can be a fine line between acceptance and giving up, between wanting the best in a given situation and hating what we have. The key is to respond to things with sense, rather than react with sensibility.
To be able to accept what will not change and change what you will not accept is my challenge to you. But first, we need to identify what is what.
Let’s take a common topic to look at this concept: weight gain.
Once we get to a certain age, whatever that age is, it’s kind of expected that we’ll gain weight. We have special terms for it, some nicer than others, like middle age spread or matronly, going to seed or letting ourselves go.
The passage of time is not something we can change. We are getting older every day, whether we choose to accept it or not, it’s happening. However, people’s attitudes vary greatly towards the effect it has on their bodies.
For one person, a little extra weight doesn’t bother them — more for their lover to cuddle, maybe they like the curves they didn’t have before. They are happy to accept it.
Another person just sees it as inevitable, they give in to the situation they see themselves as powerless in. Maybe they make an attempt once or twice a year to lose a little weight or healthy themselves up a bit but this person makes few positive long-term changes to habit or lifestyle and will never be truly comfortable with themselves in the way the first person is.
Their acceptance is begrudging and unhappy. It will come back to needle them when they see photos of themselves and an unhealthy level of self-rejection is only a short distance away.
Our third person takes that weight gain almost as a personal insult. Surely, we have no excuses when it comes to our health in an age brimming with information and understanding. They refuse to look like that and they will do everything in their power to prevent or reverse it.
Although this may look like a healthier decision than our last candidate, their decision/action is based on fear. Fear of becoming something they hate. They are therefore running away from something rather than moving positively towards something.
Motives are powerful things, they can fuel us and influence our focus or direction.
Choose your battles and win the war.
Fighting something that you cannot change is exhausting. It depletes our mental and physical energy, our courage and motivation, our time and money.
Accepting something as it is, does not mean giving up or giving in. It can come in the form of making peace with a situation, letting go of unrealistic expectations or pressures, making a level base from which to move forward from. These are all positive things. Neither pretense nor fighting windmills serve us in any way.
One of the best-known sayings about this is:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Whether you believe these things come from God or within yourself, this time-tested phrase bears thinking about. We can exercise our wisdom by intentionally identifying things in our lives, rather than waiting for things to just dawn on us as we pootle along.
Take some action.
Identify 5 things that you are not happy with in your life. Be specific. Don’t just make a nebulous comment like ‘I don’t like my house/job/hair’. What don’t you like? What are you uncomfortable with?
I know what it can be like to feel trapped in a situation. However, both wisdom and experience have taught me that when I cannot change the things around me I can change my part in the situation: my responses, my attitudes.
Sometimes, when change seems impossible, we can be the change. If the situation is dark, we can choose to be the light, if there is passivity we can choose to be the catalyst. I know this takes courage but small, consistent changes can create significant change, in both ourselves and our situations.
Above is a very general table. It covers the things that we really can’t change in life. Maybe you can name a few more?
When you do this for your 5 things, be specific as to the situations and the response/action that you intend to make.
Your table may look something like this one or you may prefer to make separate lists or use mind mapping for personal growth, another tool I personally find very helpful.
When you have settled on what you need to make peace with and what you intend to change, share with another person that you trust so as to be accountable to them. Give them permission to ask you about how you’re doing in these areas, allow them to walk alongside you in this.
That way, you will see the progress you want to see in the areas you have identified.
You will be able to accept what will not change and change what you will not accept.