Acceptance is the First Step to Happiness

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“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

– Reinhold Niebuhr

Change isn’t easy – for anyone. Change, especially for situations beyond their control, can be so difficult to accept that we need to ask our higher power for strength to help us get through it.

There are many moments when life seems to smack you in side of the head with a brick. Often, you never see it coming. You may have been working on a certain plan and everything was going according to it. You may have had certain expectations, then suddenly – your life changes in a single moment.

Maybe it’s a breakup, a divorce, the loss of a job, a life-changing injury or illness or the death of a loved one. It can even be less earth-shattering things such as the weather interference, someone canceling plans, a failure at something, or your boss overloading you with work.

Learning to accept

You need to accept 3 things in any situation beyond your control:

  • The situation or change occurred due to circumstances beyond your control.
  • Since you did not initiate the situation, you have no influence over it.
  • How you accept, respond and react to the situation is the only you can control.

We cannot control others nor control what they do, say or think.

Things you may need to accept that you can’t change typically come in two forms.

The first kind is accepting that you’ll need to make an adjustment. These can be things that cause you to alter your plans or certain expectations, but these changes aren’t necessarily life-shattering.

The second kind of change is major. These are the kind of changes that cause a significant shift in your life.

A mind shift

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

– Maya Angelou

You can choose a positive or negative outlook on any given situation. It’s always your choice.

If you choose a positive outlook, you look for ways to make the most of the situation to your benefit and/or to the benefit of others.

If you choose a negative outlook, you are essentially granting the situation the power over you. This can be especially devastating and you might make yourself believe that you are powerless. Such thoughts block off all possibility. Negative thinking can turn a workable situation into something hopeless and debilitating.

Accept and move beyond

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

– Albert Einstein

Once we accept what we can’t change and accept that the path we had planned to take is blocked, we can then choose another path.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

Plans change

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

– Joseph Campbell

You cannot see the future. No plan is concrete. Planning to adapt to changes is a winning plan. A different path can make all the difference. Sometimes the things we never planned are the best things of all.

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

– John Lennon