Accepting What Is

Have you ever been stuck?

Have you ever struggled to accept a situation?

I get stuck weekly, if not daily. We all do. Many times we are stuck because we are resisting a situation or reality we don’t like. How’s that new project at work going? Are you having trouble getting started because you don’t agree with the approach your boss told you to take? How’s adjusting to parenthood going? Are you running yourself ragged trying to manage a newborn or toddler AND live the life you had BEFORE your Precious One arrived? Do you feel exhausted and empty from trying to get emotional support from a loved one who just isn’t available the way you need them to be? Did you skip lunch because you were realized too late you were out of your favorite ingredient? And are you now running on empty?

It’s so easy to get stuck in feelings of anger, frustration, loneliness and disappointment when you focus on what you don’t want and what isn’t working.  That boss really is so rigid, isn’t she? Maybe you feel like a failure for not being able to juggle parenthood and a social life. It seems that loved one must not really care like you do. And who needs lunch anyway; after all nothing taste good without that awesome Cilantro Avocado dressing!  If these emotions don’t drag you down, they at least hold you in place. All of these scenarios reflect a focus on what is NOT working.

Photo Credit: Filip Mroz

What if you flipped the angle? What if you focused on what IS working? What if that new assignment allows you to collaborate with some of your favorite colleagues or build a new skill set?  Is that baby of yours clean, fed and rested most of the time? Don’t discount such a major feat! Have you told your loved one directly that you need support? Or perhaps that friend of yours who keeps reminding you to let them know if you need anything really means it! For lunch, did you check the fridge since your other half just brought groceries home last night? What about checking your pantry? Maybe this is the day you use one of those cans of black beans that have been sitting on your shelf a little longer than you planned! AND the fact that we all need to feed our bodies and minds is a pretty universal truth. It is what is! This is what you have to work with! You can struggle against the tide trying to work with What Is NOT or you can flow forward focused on What IS. You choose.

Photo Credit: Kris Mikael Krister

For years I have struggled with accepting What IS especially in regards to my weight. I was not comfortable accepting my weight because to me that  implied that my excess weight was ok AND didn’t need to change. What I understand now is that I need to accept where I am now. Back then, I was approaching my health and weight loss with the expectation that my body would perform like the future self I imagined. While visualizing your future self can be very powerful, treating your body like it has already gone through months of training and conditioning is dangerous territory. It is a recipe for injury and disappointment.

Photo Credit: Catherine Heath

In January 2018, for example, I was so frustrated and worn out from failed diets. While trying on some clothes in a dressing room with God-awful lighting and a very unkind mirror, I decided that even if the pounds wouldn’t come off, I could still tone my arms. The next day I went to the gym and did 3 reps each on 8 arm machines with weights lighter than used at my peak fitness, but still heavier than they should have been. I acted a fool treating my body like it was already well on its way to its future self. I didn’t respect my body’s current conditioning, or lack thereof. Unfortunately, I injured both my neck and shoulders. It took a couple of months before I could exercise again. I couldn’t even do things like the elliptical because the back and forth motion of my arms aggravated the injury. Although almost two years have passed since then, I am seeing the crux of that fail only now. I did not accept where I was and what my body really needed. By going easier and slower I would have achieved my goals much sooner. It is my current health challenges that are teaching me this lesson.

There was a period following a medical procedure that the breadth and intensity of my symptoms dramatically increased. For too long, I was fighting reality; white knuckling it through the days as if nothing had changed. I wasn’t accepting what wasn’t working and instead forcing (with miserable results) my mind and body to perform in ways that were not possible. Until recently, I was a fairly gifted facilitator, planner and organizer who could make complicated technical concepts more accessible and bring people together in collaboration and common understanding. Currently, most of these are things are quite challenging and exhausting mentally and physically. In refusing to accept my limitations, I was beating my head against the wall. I was failing to perform adequately; disappointing myself and those depending on me. I was frustrated, sad and angry. As much as I was processing the grief of loss, I did not want to let go. I was looking at these challenges as a forever problem. My days were darker than I’d like to admit.

Photo Credit: Casey Horner

But then the light switch flipped and I shifted my thinking. I began accepting and respecting my limitations. I began focusing on what I could do. As I did, the hope and the light grew. It was the acceptance of my current situation, AND NOT projecting into an unknown future, that allowed me to progress forward and release a lot of the struggle. Consequently, my confidence has grown, I have greater clarity around my purpose and I have begun moving forward! Most amazingly, I have found a sense of peace, even happiness. I am living the lesson of progress by working with what is rather than what is not. I am so grateful!

So, where are you stuck? 

How are you resisting what is?

What do you need to accept in order to move forward?

Photo Credit: Bruno Nascimento

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