Want a Happier Life? Acceptance and Flexibility are Good Places to Start
Written by Luke Iorio
Previously published on One Idea Away | August 23, 2019
I’ll freely admit I had a big challenge with the word and notion of acceptance.
For so long, acceptance meant resignation, mediocrity, giving in, settling for less, and so on.
If I accept this situation, it’ll never change. If I accept the way that person treats me, I’ll be letting them get away with it. If I accept these mistakes, I’m leading myself (or others) to not be better . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.
That was my story.
And now, I can accept (see what I did right there?) that I simply had it wrong.
At the Root of Acceptance
At its roots (and I truly mean as its etymological roots), acceptance is actually about receiving, graciously—as if you’re receiving a gift.
This understanding developed two important associations for me. First, that in receiving, I’m just letting something be what it is at this time. It doesn’t mean I can’t ever do something about it; it simply means I’m accepting it for what it is, without judging it, making it more or less than it is, or wanting it to be anything other than what it is. And that brings me to the second association—it’s a gift, meaning it’s something that presents you with a benefit of some kind and asks nothing in return.
When I began looking to simply see and experience the situations and relationships in my life as they were, without judging or trying to change them, and I saw those situations and relationship as gifts in some way—whether I could see what the benefit was at the moment or not—I became more patient, less judgmental, less cynical, and (the real surprise to me) less stressed.
These qualities and experiences led me to see more possibilities. It was as if blinders for seeing people and situations were removed and I could see each of them more fully and more wholly . . .