That which you would change, must first be accepted as is. (Anonymous)
First of all, it’s a privilege to do the work I do. As a therapist, I am trusted with the most critically important issues people can face in life. Big or small, one rule applies: if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.
Some of these issues are easy to identify, harder to change: leave an abusive relationship. Limit contact with your mother if she’s critical. Drop your guard and reach out to a friend who’s hurt your feelings. Unfollow someone on Facebook whose posts upset you every time you read them.
But sometimes it’s things that can’t be changed readily by your actions. Like a cancer diagnosis. Like a mate’s affair. Like a layoff at your company.
The words of the Serenity Prayer, used by Alcoholics Anonymous, come to mind: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Because going to war with the hard issues in your life with anger, guilt, self-recrimination or blame doesn’t help-and indeed, only strengthens the misery. Example: I’m laid off. I hate myself for not seeing this coming. Now, besides being laid off, you are laid off AND feeling self-loathing.
How did that help?
Learning to accept-to float on the ocean waves of hard times rather than flail around in the water fighting them-will get you to shore faster. Giving yourself a break with positive, loving self -talk-I’m doing the best I can, no one could’ve prevented this– will get you to shore sooner.
And on that shore are solutions or at least, ways to cope. Hope. New ideas.
And just maybe, a stronger, happier soul.