This is the first slide in a new series of simple affirmations. It isn’t by accident that the first is about “acceptance,” It was one of the first steps on my road to recovery from years of deep depression.
My first really important insight around acceptance came towards the end of my mother’s life. She and I were never close, indeed I had pushed her away because being around her triggered resentments in me and we always argued. It seemed like I could not NOT argue with her. Now, my mother did her best, as we all do. Her life had not been a happy one, other than her marriage. She medicated her inner wounds with alcohol and prescription drugs, eventually succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver. She was “a nervous wreck,” several times during my childhood disappearing for a long “rest-cure.” She was easily overwhelmed when things were not orderly and then she would yell and try to control everything around her. As it was going on, I didn’t understand it and so we would argue. I would go home and work to forgive her – and the next time we would argue and again..thereI’d be trying to forgive her.
I was in Al-Anon, a 12-step program for families of alcoholics (daughter of, wife of, mother of…) when I first learned about acceptance – looking reality in the face with love and not trying to change it. I learned to ACCEPT my mother as she was and I no longer had to forgive her. OF COURSE she acted (fill in the blank of ways that had rubbed me the wrong way) and I could love her anyway. Now, our relationship never became close, but it was much improved and I was able to visit her and talk with her over the phone without struggling inside myself with wanting her to be different. And eventually I have come to see the gifts she brought to me, instead of the wounds. “Thank you, mom.”
You and I are in charge of our own happiness, and no one else has to behave in a way we like better for us to be happy, as hard as that truth was to swallow at first.
I am in recovery from years of deep depression. I do not blame my mother. I know we both had major biochemical imbalances and I am luckier than she ever was because of the tools I have learned. Her ways of adapting to her world and her skill deficits affected me – but she loved me in her own way and I was a disappointment to her in my own ways of adapting (for instance living in a cult for 10 years – Synanon – but that’s anther story).
My decision to accept my mother as-is instead of resenting her and having to forgive her over and over has become a model for me whenever I find myself fighting with reality, thinking it
SHOULD be different. That fight only brings me headaches and heartaches. No one escapes the fact that all lives contains both pain and joy – and meanwhile we have children to raise.
What would happen if you gave up the fight?
We all have to come to terms with life as it is and each path is unique because WE are each unique. When I accept people and situations as they are, I am freer to decide how to respond. I consult my Highest Self to know what response is in the highest good of all concerned, including me of course. There are a lot of things I wish had been different along the way, but every hour of pain I have endured has compelled me to reach within for new insights and those insights have helped me to build a life of love, beauty, purpose and happiness. So I am grateful for those hours..and the path I am blessed with. It isn’t how I imagined it wen I was 17. I’ll bet yours isn’t either.
Think about someone or something in your life you are fighting to make different.
Open your heart to the possibility of surrendering that fight…what would happen then? The answer to that question shows you what you are really fighting.
Go down a few levels. Ask yourself, “what could happen then?” until you find your deeper fears
Look them in the face. Then what would you do? How would you survive? Consider the many new options that would be open to you and discover for yourself that you are more resilient and competent than you had realized and that you have nothing to fear but fear itself and give up the struggle.
Namaste, I love you. I hope you love you too.