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Life That Works: Learning Acceptance

“Acceptance is not submission, it is acknowledgment of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you are going to do about it.” -Kathleen Theisen

There is great beauty and strength in learning to see and accept things as they are. It is an easy and invisible reaction to look away from the facts, to refuse to see what the world is showing us in order to protect our own ideas about how things are and how they should be. Often, we have to get hit over the head with the facts to relinquish our views and preferences, which explains why things often have to get to an extreme place before we are willing or able to react.

Opening up to the changing nature of life and taking in the changing landscape of information helps to avoid those crisis points where we are literally shaken awake to discover all we have been missing. We wake up when we have no choice, when our efforts have failed, when it is clear that another plan must replace the one to which we have been clinging.

Surprisingly, coming to acceptance of what is, is actually way less painful than the grasping for what isn’t anymore. It opens up a curious space where we can listen and see without blinders. Our relationships take a deep breath and communications that have been refused, start to flow again. New options and possibilities arise with little effort.

When we engage with the world as it actually is, we become more intelligent because we are curious again.   Although this awakened state is often triggered by loss or defeat,  we discover that beyond despair there are solutions that were not available from our previous vantage point. I recently posted an ad for senior leadership on a business social networking site despite my doubts that I could find the right person for the job. To my surprise and delight I realize how often I get stuck in a world of my own mental constructs and that just beyond that space is a huge expanse of options. The last few days have been filled with conversations with people I never imagined I would be speaking to about my small constructed world.

Reminding myself to see things as they are and open to the unknown carries as much promise as it does vulnerability. It is a good positive practice.