Thursday, May 3, 2007
Life on Life's Terms
Accepting "life on life's terms" is something that hasn't been easy for me. Life is filled with unexpected things that come up. Some of these are good things but others can be ones that cause a great deal of frustration, sorrow, or anxiety. I've always been able to deal with changes fairly easily and like to think of myself as being flexible. But these are changes over which I have some control. It's the changes that are beyond my control that seem to bother me the most. Some of those changes relate to a sense of loss that I had over people in my life and the changes that those losses brought about. Some changes are the result of the machinations of upper management on the job and the bureaucracy in which I work.
What I've come to realize is that these "heavy" losses or big changes are something that I can't control. They are a part of the complexity of life. There are always going to be unforeseen things that come up each day that I hadn't planned on. I used to get frustrated about those things, especially when the unforeseen involved my work. What I've found through my program is that if I simply roll with the punches and accept that things aren't always going to go smoothly, I can keep on an even keel.
So what I now do is look for a solution when some disappointment or frustration comes about. I don't throw my hands up anymore, curse, or fly off the handle. One of my staff noted the other day that I wasn't charging off to go "after" someone when an unexpected budget cut occurred. The "old" me used to fire off memos and be intimidating if something didn't go as planned. What I told her was that there are some things that are worth taking a stand on and there are others that no one can change. And that I've learned to pick my "battles" carefully. So I guess that the "new" me doesn't think that I have to give up and accept everything. I will still take a stand on those things that I think are important. That's where the courage to change the things that I can comes into the picture.
So when I used to let anger flare up around me or become indignant when things arose that didn't go the way that I thought they should, I now remember that life isn't going to go the way that I want it to. I didn't write the script. I'm just a bit player.
Acceptance can actually give me a lot more power than self-pity, anger, disappointment, or frustration. When those feelings arise, I acknowledge them but don't let them rule me anymore. I can make choices about how I'm going to react or if I'm going to react. I also try to look at all sides to the situation and see what role I can play and where the other person fits in. I can then choose to take some kind of action or I can just let it go.
…"Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation--some fact of my life --unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.......unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes." from Alcoholics Anonymous