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.
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.