And all those lovely veggies got decimated overnight.
I allowed myself a few minutes of feeling frustrated and disappointed. We’d invested a lot of time in sowing and caring for all those plants…and then they were gone in less than a day.
But I quickly realized there was nothing I could do to change the outcome, and now we’re focused on plans for our spring garden.
When it comes to Mother Nature, I reach a level of acceptance rather quickly. I recognize that what happens with the weather is totally out of my control, and I don’t expend a lot of energy wishing for a different outcome.
But in situations involving human beings, accepting reality can be trickier.
One reason: We think we have the power to influence another person’s behavior.
And of course, sometimes you can.
But the fact is, for many situations, you have absolutely no control over people’s actions. Just a few examples…
- A family member drinks too much, eats unhealthy foods, smokes or has some other bad habit that concerns you.
- A potential client indicates she’s eager to work with you or buy your product, and another decision-maker in her organization shoots down the idea so the deal is dead.
- A friend promises to help you with an important activity but has to cancel at the last minute. This is not the first time he has failed to come through for you.
You can stew and fuss about what the other person did or did not do. This expends precious emotional and mental energy by focusing on the negative.
You can replay individual scenes repeatedly in your mind, thinking about what happened and what you wish had occurred instead. This rehash of the past is futile. You cannot change what has already transpired.
You can accept the reality of what happened or is happening and move on.
This last one is tough, because you may not want to stare the truth in the face. Or you prefer to make excuses. Or blame the person, your bad luck or some other external event.
But facing the truth is the only option that can bring you to a place of calm and peace.
Acceptance is all about seeing and acknowledging what IS.
As psychologist Nathaniel Branden brilliantly observed: "Accepting does not necessarily mean 'liking,' 'enjoying,' or 'condoning.' I can accept what is—and be determined to evolve from there. It is not acceptance but denial that leaves me stuck."
Next time something happens to you – or someone does something – that elicits a negative reaction from you, monitor your thoughts and self-talk.
The faster you can recognize the reality of the situation, the faster you'll be able to make positive, healthy choices about your next step.
“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” - Virginia Satir, American psychologist (1916-1988)