Accepting the unacceptable



Things do not always work out the way we want them to, and our instinct is usually to resist the way things are and focus on what we think they should be like.

We loose the love of our lives. We fail to accomplish something that is important to us. We make mistakes and blame ourselves for it for years. We struggle with forgiving the people who hurt us in the past. People we love are hurt or ill. We make the wrong choices, have too much to do or feel like we should do better.

Sounds familiar?

I was very recently blessed with a stay at a five-star Malaysian hotel. I have been there before, every time in the company of my boyfriend. But after our break-up in August, this time I was there alone. And I spent the first couple of hours crying on the (huge, double) bed – thinking about how I wished I was there with him. How I missed him. How I wished we were still together.

And no, crying is definitely not any more glamorous in a five-star hotel than in a one-room student apartment.

And then – in between sobs and running mascara – it kind of hit me that no matter how much I wished things were different they wouldn’t be. I could waste my time in this nice hotel crying, or I could accept the situation and make the most of my time.

Do I have to tell you that I chose the latter?

It wasn’t easy. I had to force myself to walk from the bed to the bathroom to wipe my face. I had to force myself out of the room and into the lounge. I had to force myself to leave the hotel and to get some food. The first few hours were hard.

And then, something happened. I suddenly found myself enjoying my new-found individuality and independence. I found myself enjoying to be the solo traveller people watching in the lounge. I discovered that I quite enjoyed having the letter from management wishing me a happy stay addressed to me – not my partner.

And then the really fun part started. I realized that I could do exactly whatever I really, truly wanted. And so I did! I went sightseeing to places I haven’t been able to convince my (ex) boyfriend to visit. I spent hours (yes, hours!) in Books Kinokuniya. I ordered room service, got a mani/pedi, worked out in KLCC park and went on a really exciting (window) shopping spree.

The hard part was to accept that things were not the way I wanted them to be. The hard part was to make peace with the current situation and then force myself to take the first steps in the right direction.

The rest – the rest was easy.


Have you successfully mastered a challenging situation? Are you struggling to make peace with reality? Let’s talk more in the comments!

Accepting the way things are and changing my thoughts have been one of the most rewarding things I have learned over the last few years. With the help of self-coaching, the Work by Byron Katie and some very life-changing personal stories on acceptance – I feel very strongly that I have mastered to turn a challenging situation around for the better.

I write more about acceptance and self-coaching in Feeling Good when Life is Hard – read more here.



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine January 11, 2013 at 11:37 pm

You’re amazing! What a challenge, but I bet you’re so glad you managed to talk yourself out of it! I will definitely keep this in mind, next time I find myself in a situation that I can’t change!


Bee January 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I found this link through twitter. I love the story you tell here and how you convey it – I love the idea of that kind of self-care when we need it most. Your writing is so strong and delicate – thank you.


Rebecca January 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Awesome lady <3


Gretchen January 15, 2013 at 3:30 am

I have been dealing with some hard times the past couple of months: I graduated college then immediately moved back home with my parents, broke my ankle 5 days later, lost my job 4 months later, and the last straw was getting ‘let go’ from a significant other a few weeks ago.

I had felt pretty negatively just about everything, especially since once I felt like I was beginning to recover from my broken ankle, I then got laid off from my job. And then I was unemployed, job searching day in and day out. I felt depressed, alone, upset, and even angry.

I then started talking to a friend of mine, just as friends at first, but things turned to something more. It actually made me very happy and took my mind off all the negative things. I felt saved. And then almost as quickly as it all happened, it ended. At first I was heartbroken and upset, but then it just turned to anger and bitterness.

Like I said, I felt as if things were getting better because of this distraction, so I told myself I was not going to let negativity run my life anymore and I vowed to start the new year off right. However, I got ‘broken up with’ on New Years Day. So although I was extremely let down and upset, I still told myself that I had made a promise to myself to not be so negative and upset all the time, and to try to make the best of any bad situation. I began a structured work out schedule, began reading again, limited my media consumption, I actually found a new job (which I am starting tomorrow!), and I have reconnected with old friends. I even have been using Pinterest as a place to compile good quotes, pretty pictures, soothing music, and anything else that could help me calm down and feel at peace with myself. It may be a little bitter sounding, but I have told myself that I don’t need that person at all in my life, and that the key to my own happiness was not in their hands, but in mine. Having a more positive outlook about things has helped me to get past some of these bad events that have been looming over my mind, particularly with this heartbreak, and although I still have upsetting thoughts about it daily, I’m not going to let it be my ruin. I am embracing my independence and pursuing my own life. I am not being selfish, I just know that at this time in my life, I know I need to take care of myself. I find myself smiling more, remembering old memories from college that make me laugh out loud. I honestly haven’t felt this good in months!

I also feel like I owe a lot to this site because it really helped me during the darkest times when I was feeling the most depressed and alone. Since this recent even happened, I was able to be better prepared, knowing there were tools to help get me through the rough times. I cannot say ‘thank you’ enough for everything you’ve done for me, I always look forward to your posts! :)


Emma Rose Black January 18, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I cannot tell you how much this post hits home for me! I’m dealing with my break up but at the same time I’m looking forward to a solo travelling adventure, but I know I will find it hard. So it’s good to know we can make it through the other side. Thank you! Thank you! Em x


Tu Nhi January 20, 2013 at 6:01 am



Annamarie DiRaddo March 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

The way you started this blog out “..our instinct is usually to resist the ways things are and focus on what we think they should be like” is something that a professor (one I greatly admire) had told me recently.

I graduated college in 2010 and haven’t found my “dream job” since. I started working as a preschool teacher to simply pay the bills and gain some professional experience and then I decided (kind of immediately) to go to school and get my teaching certification. I’ve never had this desire before and I’ve always had the same career dream (magazine writing) since I was little… but with school bills adding up and years passing away, I felt I needed to just do something. So I went to grad school. I struggled. I hated my classes. I hated the stress. I hated the financial obligations and couldn’t convince myself it was all worth it. Everyone around me was telling me mixed things and I couldn’t figure things out. I wanted to travel and enjoy life but instead I was hiding out in graduate school trying to get a masters and teaching certification in an area I didn’t have a strong enough passion for. So finally, I QUIT!
I never felt so relieved and just amazing. I felt free. I could do what I wanted. I could pursue my passion-magazine writing- and not feel like it should just be a hobby. I finally just LET GO of this security net I had built around me and let myself be vulnerable to…life. To trying to write for a magazine with the possibility of failing.
It was incredibly hard to give up. I was concerned of what others might think. I was concerned that I would look like a failure even though I did complete my undergrad just fine. It took a little time, but since I’ve left graduate school I have been feeling so much better about myself, my life and all the things I am able to do. Graduate school is great, just not for me RIGHT NOW. I had to understand that and accept that. I had to be bold enough to accept my life, love my life and try harder. Sometimes, you’re not supposed to be where you are, and when you fight it, it makes life harder than it really needs to be.


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