Tag Archives: acceptance

Loving What Is

By Dr. Nancy Buck

One of the biggest causes of mental upset and unhappiness comes from our own making. Every time we resist what is actually happening right now in real life we make our own distress and mental discomfort.

You wake up to discover that it is a rainy day. You were hoping for a sunny day to enjoy your morning walk. Boy that is annoying! You’re really trying to get into the habit of getting outside everyday to walk and quiet  your mind. And now you can’t go!

What a perfect evening you had planned. You and a friend were going to have a lovely meal together then go see a movie. You were really looking forward to this. But your friend calls to cancel at the last minute. Now what? You’re fun evening is destroyed. Can you ever rely on this friend to come through?

Oh my gosh. You realize you’re getting sick – again! How many colds does that make for you since the fall? Does your body ever cooperate? You’re really being conscientious, taking special care of your diet, your exercise, your work out routines. And still you keep getting sick.

These are just a few examples of what may happen when what we get is very different from what we want. Upset, frustration, anger and disappointment are not unusual feelings.

But remaining in this same emotional spot long after the disappointment is over then becomes a choice. And with that choice comes the persistence in resisting what is actually happening now. Ever heard the expression “What you resist persists?”

The longer we hold on to our upset, disappointment and frustration about reality not turning into what we planned and wanted the longer we will continue to feel upset, disappointed and frustrated.

What can you do instead? Accept what is.

How? Get curious and see if you can discover the “silver lining” in the new reality of what is.

Need better instructions to follow this idea? Watch the movie Silver Linings Playbook. The whole movie is about our hero learning to make the best he can from some unhappy, disappointing changes and challenges in his life. Once he begins to accept what is actually happening now in his life, he discovers unexpected silver linings!

Want to improve your mental health and happiness? Start looking for your silver linings in your disappointments. When you are open to the possibilities you are more likely to discover unexpected treasures.

 

A Crucial Relationship

by Barnes Boffey, Ed.; Director of Training, Aloha Foundation (www.alohafoundation.org)

When I was 26 years old, I began an intentional relationship which has been one of the most important I have ever had. It gets more significant every day. I was teaching a college class and the issue of death came up. I decided to create a short thoughtful experience for my students, so I asked them to write down the answer to the question, “How do you feel about death?” on an index card.  On the other side I asked them to answer the question: “How would you like to feel about death?”

My answer to the second question was  “I’d like to be as unafraid of where I am going after my death as I am of where I came from before my birth.” I was actually quite happy with my answer, but the more profound thing that happened at that moment was that I realized at a deeper level that I should start interacting with the thoughts and emotions and realities of death quite early in my life, for as the saying goes, “There are only two sure things in life, Death and Taxes.

Over the years I have gotten a wide variety of reactions to my desire to incorporate my relationship with death into my everyday life, but now that I am 70, I am so very grateful that I did. I am well ahead of so many people my age who have been pushing this relationship away for years.  I feel like my relationship with death has gone through the ups and downs of any long term relationship. I have been angry, sad, scared, denying, accepting and serene. My long-term relationship with death has given me the opportunity to work out many of my fears and questions, some which take years to resolve, and I am left at this time of my life with a sense of serenity and acceptance which I know could not have been created in a short-term last minute relationship.

I have envisioned my own death, I have written several obituaries as though I had died in that particular year, and I have  imagined my own memorial service (who will come? who will stay? who will I be glad is there? who will I wish had stayed home? What will be said? What would I like to be said?). I have talked with my children about my death until they are much more easy talking about it, and I have asked others what their thoughts are about probably the most important issue of our lives over 70, the process of aging and death.

 

Imagine the edge you would have if you took any of life’s issues and explored it thoughtfully and emotionally for 45 years. This is no different, it just involves a subject most people are unwilling to talk about: it America’s great taboo. The results of my relationship with death over the year are reaping great rewards in this time of my life, but it has also been a blessing all along the way.

 

 

When being right may be wrong

by Dr. Ken Larsen

It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.”   — Pete Seege

acceptance-belief-change

We were living in Salinas.  Not far from where Bobby McGee slipped away.  I was in 5th grade and struggling with a major metamorphosis in my thinking and beliefs.  I was beginning to realize that playing cowboys with toy guns was something that kids did.  I was beginning to believe that I was no longer a kid and needed to put aside childish games like cowboys.  I was also beginning to notice that girls were more interesting than I had thought not too long before.  In hindsight, this awareness of a new way of thinking and behaving was an essential step in my development as a person.  What was most interesting was the slow and gradual dawning of a new self-concept pointing to a need to change.  It was not sudden or abrupt, but sort of crept up on me.  I also came to see that I had to make a choice to achieve that change.

I believe many of us in our culture and in our world are facing a similar growing awareness of our need to put aside some of our childish beliefs and behaviors and move on and into a new awareness of who we are as adults in our humanity.

What I’m getting at is the truth in the phrase “the world is divided by those who think they are right.”

I have lost friends in discussions where both of us were convinced we were right.  This “being right” seemed so important that it came out as a criticism and condemnation of the other person’s point of view.

When both parties are enmeshed in the trap of “I’m right and you’re wrong” what kind of an outcome can be expected?

Far too often there is a cascade of anger, hurt feelings and ultimately alienation from one another.

Dr. Glasser helped us see the universal need in all of us for love and belonging.  The need to be connected to one another is built into our genetic makeup.  Dr. Glasser also challenged us to evaluate what we were doing and saying in our relationships by asking the question “is what I’m doing (or going to do) bringing us closer together or driving us further apart.”

I’ve seen that insistence on my point of view as being the right point of view is a flawed approach to connecting with others.  If I really want to draw closer to another, I’m working on creatively growing into learning new and more life giving ways to have a conversation.  If I believe that “live and let live” is a valid way to be with others who see things differently, then I believe I’m making progress.

I find it more interesting to get to know a person as a unique member of our human family before I get too busy trying to convince anyone of how my opinion is superior to theirs.

And my mental health and happiness are enhanced when I’m working to understand rather than insisting I be understood.

Accept what is

by Dr. Nancy Buck

One of the biggest causes of mental upset and unhappiness comes from our own making. Every time we resist what is actually happening right now in real life we make our own distress and mental discomfort.

You wake up to discover that it is a rainy day. You were hoping for a sunny day to enjoy your morning walk. Boy that is annoying! You’re really trying to get into the habit of getting outside everyday to walk and quiet  your mind. And now you can’t go!

What a perfect evening you had planned. You and a friend were going to have a lovely meal together then go see a movie. You were really looking forward to this. But your friend calls to cancel at the last minute. Now what? You’re fun evening is destroyed. Can you ever rely on this friend to come through?

Oh my gosh. You realize you’re getting sick – again! How many colds does that make for you since the fall? Does your body ever cooperate? You’re really being conscientious, taking special care of your diet, your exercise, your work out routines. And still you keep getting sick.

These are just a few examples of what may happen when what we get is very different from what we want. Upset, frustration, anger and disappointment are not unusual feelings.

choosehappyBut remaining in this same emotional spot long after the disappointment is over then becomes a choice. And with that choice comes the persistence in resisting what is actually happening now. Ever heard the expression “What you resist persists?”

The longer we hold on to our upset, disappointment and frustration about reality not turning into what we planned and wanted the longer we will continue to feel upset, disappointed and frustrated.

What can you do instead? Accept what is.

How? Get curious and see if you can discover the “silver lining” in the new reality of what is.

Need better instructions to follow this idea? Watch the movie Silver Linings Playbook. The whole movie is about our hero learning to make the best he can from some unhappy, disappointing changes and challenges in his life. Once he begins to accept what is actually happening now in his life, he discovers unexpected silver linings!

Want to improve your mental health and happiness? Start looking for your silver linings in your disappointments. When you are open to the possibilities you are more likely to discover unexpected treasures.

Lessons from the garden

By Bette Blance, M.Ed Studies

About eighteen months ago we had a very large copper beech tree cut down.  It was a heart- breaking decision but it had been planted 40 years previously too close to the house.  Being a deciduous tree it lost its leaves every winter and during the year, several other ‘drops’ of  calyces and hard seed pods added to the clogging of the gutters and a roof that  was deteriorating.

I had always loved the view of the copper beech tree as the lower branches framed our bedroom window.  It was picture postcard view in all seasons.

Several things happened as a result of removing the tree.  A bed of roses alongside the house have now flourished and flowered magnificently during the spring and summer.

A large camellia tree came into full view and as the flowering season continued, it spread a carpet of bright pink petals below it.  I had not appreciated how beautiful this tree was until it stood there alone and proud, not crowded out by the copper beech. I had just not seen it. garden-bette

We sometimes focus on what we have lost and don’t see the other things that are already in our lives.  The lesson of letting go the copper beech was that the view changed and was replaced, when I chose to see it, by something equally as beautiful.

In life there are so many examples of how we cling to old things, hanker after things in the past and fail to notice what is good around us. We can spend a lot of time wanting something that no longer exists, whether it be a relationship or a that dream job, when we could be asking ourselves what is the miracle of what we have now.

In the words of Jeffrey McDaniel “I realise there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.”
 

Happiness

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
— Anthony D’Angelo
(Thanks for sharing this quote on our quote page Miranda Galbreath)

Do you consider yourself a person who is generally happy, upbeat, optimistic? Or would you say you are more of a realist, clear about the potential hazards and failures as well as good fortune? Perhaps you are a superstitious person, avoiding walking under ladders or letting black cats cross your path and never walking on sidewalk cracks if you can avoid it.

There has been some interest in the idea that we are each born with a happiness set point, just as has been suggested there is a weight set point. The notion of a happiness set point means that no matter how high or low your happiness may rise or fall due to a new life circumstance or event, you eventually fall back and settle to your “usual” level of your happiness set point.

If this is true, then it could also be true that we have the ability to change our happiness set point, just like we do our weight. This doesn’t mean that making this shift is easy to do as you may well know if you have ever tried to lose weight when you are stuck at a certain weight set point. But it can be done. (Your level of belief and enthusiasm for this notion is probably affected by your happiness set point.)

Are you willing to conduct your own experiment to see if you can learn and practice new happiness habits to raise your level of happiness? You can start by setting a goal to be happier instead of aiming for a big goal like happiness.

Here are some ideas that might help: Join and start practicing Mental Health & Happiness daily challenges. Pick out one of the many habits that you received when you signed up to this website. Find a website that delivers daily jokes, inspirational quotes, images of cute puppies, kittens or babies that help you create your own inside sunshine. Or try to find what you like, agree with and want even in situations or events that seem to be only contrary.

Who knows, maybe you will be the person other’s describe as the one who brings sunshine wherever you go, no matter the weather.

Expectations or “Acceptations” my life as a bumper car!

By Dr. Ken Larsen

I have noticed a growing awareness of our need to be connected. We need the life that flows within and between us in relationships.   Yet with this growing awareness, I wonder if many of us don’t see this as something that “they” need to deal with. I’m going to suggest that this is something that “we” and “I” need to deal with. I need to learn better ways of touching the lives of others, if not for my sake, then for the sake of the other. Loneliness within our culture has risen to the level of an epidemic. What can I do to help?

Even though we know we need one another for our mental health and happiness, many of us connect with one another about as well as bumper cars connect. We approach, we come close and then we bounce off.

As we choose to come to a place of wanting to make some changes in order to meet our need for love and belonging, we need to have a plan for “what” we can do differently.

One way to change would be to takbumpercare a look at how our expectations of others cause us to withdraw rather than connect.

If I have a mental picture of who you “should” be in relationship to who I want you to be, and then you don’t live up to my expectation, we bounce away. Both parties can sense what is happening. The other sees subtle cues in the ways I express myself in body language, facial expression and in words. There is an awareness that we don’t measure up that may not find itself into consciousness, but it is there.

First of all, this is not fair to one another. How can I possibly be who you want me to be. I can only be me. If you accept me for who I am, and if I accept you for who you are, we can at least avoid bumping off each other and who knows, we might even find something in one another that is good and interesting and that brings us closer to one another.

I’m trying out a new word to express this shift. Instead of “expectations” let’s work on “acceptations.”

 

A Little Acceptance

by Dr. Nancy Buck

Spending time with a  person who is in a miserable mood can be a misery.

You mention what a beautiful day you’re both blessed with and your companion mentions the irritating bugs that are so annoying. You smile for no particular reason and your grumble-grouch side kick complains that your ubiquitous joy is another source or irritation. Are you beginning to suspect that your friend is doing everything possible to have you join in the misery?

Is it possible that you are doing everything possible to have your partner join you in joy?

We human beings are a funny lot. Although no one can make us feel happy or miserable, feelings and emotions certainly seem contagious. Hanging around someone who is full of unhappiness and complaints can lead to our own feelings of irritation and upset. It is also possible that spending time with someone who is full of joy and laughter can influence our improved mood.

But if you are dancing and singing, standing on your head and juggling chickens all in an attempt to “cheer”someone’s mood, this will almost always backfire. If a person is committed to or needing to feel unhappy, miserable or grouchy for awhile, there is nothing that anyone can do to change their mind. They have to make this decision and choice themselves.

The one thing that you can do, however, that is kind, loving and respectful is to simply accept that your companion is feeling, thinking and behaving in a bad, sad or complaining mood. You don’t have to like it. And if you feel their mood is “rubbing off”on you, you can choose to temporarily disconnect. But the last thing you should do is to try and “make”them change their mind and mood.

Accepting the feelings of another, whether the other is your child, your parent, your partner or your friend is respectful, kind and loving. Accept that they are feeling this way for their own very good reasons, whether you understand those reasons or not. You can offer a listening ear and an understanding heart, if they want it. But trying to convince them not to feel the way they are is disrespectful, unkind and unloving.

You can contribute to the Mental Health & Happiness of another if you accept that this person is feeling the way they are. You can also contribute to your own Mental Health & Happiness by accepting your own feelings.

Acceptance

By Kim Olver

When I think of accepting, the Serenity Prayer comes 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.

There is however, a Choice Theory modification to this prayer and it goes like this: 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change;
Courage to change the one I can; 
And the wisdom to know that person is me! 

When we truly accept another person as he or she is, we no longer experience anger, frustration and resentment, hence the “serenity.” If you find yourself still resenting the other person, angry they won’t change, and/or frustrated with their behavior, you haven’t really accepted, have you? You are still attempting to change the other person, even though you may no longer be actively using deadly habits. You are still using emotions to coerce the other person to bend to your will.

canstockphoto0512675

Acceptance sounds something like this: “I know I haven’t accepted certain things about you in the past. I even tried many things to get you to see it my way and to change. But from this day forward, I am accepting every part of you. I am no longer trying to change you. It is your life and you get to live it in the way that is best for you.”

Then you have a decision to make. Just because you accept someone and their right to live their life however they choose, does not mean you want to stay in a connected relationship with that person. It is your job to take care of yourself. If you want something from another person . . . let’s say it’s your sister and you want her to stop using drugs . . . you can accept her as a person and accept her right to make decisions that may be self-destructive but that doesn’t mean you have to be a bystander witness to her self-destruction. You may choose to disengage from someone whose choices are painful to you.

If you are in a marriage and your spouse is cheating on you, you may accept him or her and recognize your spouse has the right to make that choice but that doesn’t mean you need to stay married and watch.

Is there something about an important person in your life you have been resisting? Are you ready to move in the direction of accepting that thing, whatever it is?

A Pat on the Back

By Dr. Nancy Buck

Good relationships are built on many things, including accepting, encouraging, supporting and trusting one another. But a good relationship with others alone is not enough. Strong mental health that leads to happiness must include a good relationship with YOU. That means we each must consistently accept, encourage, support and trust ourselves most of all. For many  this practice feels like a stretch.

Research suggests that most people have an easier time giving and supporting others with compassion than we do turning that inward. And studies link self-compassion to lower anxiety and depression. Another benefit is increased optimism, better relationships and greater overall satisfaction in life. This practice will improve your physical as well as mental health.

Here’s how to get started:
• Notice when you give or receive acceptance, encouragement, support or trust to or from another.

• Notice when you start discounting, discrediting, blaming or beating yourself up.

• As soon as you notice any of the above moments that lack self-compassion, immediately change to a kinder or gentler thought or statement.

• Continue to practice noticing how you give and receive these kindnesses to your family, friends and loved ones

• Continue to practice noticing and changing all moments of disrespect and lack of self-compassion