Learning to accept things you can’t change sounds like it should be a simple thing to do. For me, it’s been a really difficult lesson and one that I’m continuing to work on every day, but it does really help me to stay positive when I’m able to accept situations that I can’t control.
Many different situations that occur on a daily basis can trigger my anxiety. It could be anything from dealing with less than helpful doctors, becoming overwhelmed by household chores, out of stock items when I’m doing the food shop or receiving an unexpected bill. Another huge trigger for me is being disappointed by other peoples actions when I’ve relied on them or needed support.
When these things have happened in the past, it’s caused me to feel upset, angry, worried and alone. Those feelings can easily spiral out of control and become overwhelming and I’ve been unable to think about anything else. So I needed a new approach.
The one thing I noticed was that I reacted very quickly to these situations and it was an extremely negative reaction. I decided to try giving myself a moment to process what had happened and to calm my mind before I reacted. If I can, I’ll distract myself with something else for a short while and give the negative emotions time to reside rather than to escalate. I find it’s much easier to accept things when I’m in a clearer head space and have put a bit of distance between myself and the situation. As time passes emotions become less intense and are easier to deal with.
Then with a calmer mind I can assess the situation properly. Can I problem solve and consider an alternative solution? Is it worth getting upset over and ruining my day? Will it help to talk to someone about it or can I adopt a different coping mechanism? Can the end result still be a positive one? Most importantly I tell myself that it’s okay to feel these negative emotions, it’s part of being human. I read a quote once that said feelings are like waves and you can choose which ones to surf. I can feel each wave of emotion coming and I can allow it to pass, knowing that it will pass eventually and that I’ll be okay. I can choose to surf only the positive waves of emotion and not drown in the negative ones. For me, that’s my acceptance.
I can’t change certain situations or someone else’s behaviour but I can accept the feelings it brings and allow the waves to pass in their own time. Yes, many times it’s difficult and there will be days when I need support or I feel like I’m beginning to drown, but with practice I’m sure those times will become fewer and acceptance will become a little easier.