Happiness Through Acceptance

I said that 2015 was the year of acceptance and I’ve really been trying to hold true to that (even accepting that sometimes, even at places like Disneyland, I’m going to be faced with skepticism about my disability).

When you step back and take a hard look, it’s really pretty crazy how much can really be gained just by letting acceptance into our lives. I’ve said before, that when people do things or behave in a way that I wouldn’t, I have a hard time understanding that. So I can get really mad when people don’t treat others with respect, when people drive recklessly or carelessly because they’re in a hurry, when a neighbor isn’t considerate or when someone steps all over other people in order to get ahead. But when you look at that sentence, everything I just listed relates to other people. None of it has anything to do with me and as frustrating as that can be, I’m never going to be able to control other people’s behavior. Can I try to make a positive impact and hope that that affects someone for the better? Of course. But there’s absolutely no sense in me getting all worked up about it. I’m only hurting myself in the end.

The only thing I can do is work on the way I approach and move through the world. I can accept that other people are going to be rude or careless or even just flat out awful sometimes, but I don’t have to be that way and I can take comfort in that. I can feel good about the fact that I care and am a hard worker. I can be satisfied knowing that when I get in my car, I’m not driving in a way that puts other people in danger.

I wish there was on “On” switch for acceptance that I could just flip on and all of a sudden I would be calm and collected about everything in my life and in the world. But unfortunately, I have to accept there’s not one of those either. The one thing there is though is the realization that acceptance is the real key to happiness. Not money, not status, not the amount of friends we have or the car we drive. Accepting that life has ups and downs (and sometimes some big ones). Accepting that people aren’t always going to be what we hoped they would be or behave perfectly all the time. Accepting that people approach the world in different ways, even if we don’t always agree with it or even if it isn’t right. Accepting that we can let go of so much stress and anxiety if we just accept that which we can’t control. The only thing we can really focus on is ourselves, and we have to accept that too. I’m trying my darndest!

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4 thoughts on “Happiness Through Acceptance

  1. Hi Jackie!
    The idea of acceptance is something I’ve just started to understand as well. I’ve always had this tendency to get angry at the way people act or feel disappointed when certain people in my life do not live up to my expectations. Slowly but surely, I’ve been realizing that I’ve been giving other people the power to dictate how I feel or behave when really I am responsible for myself! I loved when you wrote, “None of it has anything to do with me and as frustrating as that can be, I’m never going to be able to control other people’s behavior. Can I try to make a positive impact and hope that that affects someone for the better? Of course. But there’s absolutely no sense in me getting all worked up about it. I’m only hurting myself in the end.” This is so powerful and so true! People are who they are and we cannot control how other people act, think or say. All I can do is take responsible for my own actions and behaviors. Perfecting this idea of acceptance hasn’t been easy to say the least, but slowly but surely I’ve finding a sense of peace.
    Sincerely,
    Judy Kim

    1. Hi Judy. I’m really glad this post resonated with you! Acceptance is one of the most freeing things for us but at the same time, is so so hard to achieve. It’s one of those things that’s just a slow day-by-day process but I think being aware that we can’t control other people or let them dictate our feelings is a huge step in the right direction on the journey to acceptance 🙂

  2. Hi Jackie,
    I really liked this post of yours as well. I think acceptance is such an important skill to learn and if more people could practice it, I think the world would be a much happier place. I learned in my adult years a lot about acceptance of my own actions, not judging others or being personally affected by other people’s actions. It can be difficult at times but practicing acceptance has made me a more loving person I think and really saved me some emotional distress. I think that once I am able to realize that other people’s actions really have nothing to do with me, that I can separate myself from taking things personally. I know that if I take care of myself, then I am doing a good job, However, how far can we extend this concept of acceptance? I don’t believe that hiring a person with a disability to get to the front of the lines at Disneyland is okay, but if it’s that important to that person, is it really my place to say something? My instinct would be yes, because that just seems so wrong and petty, but truly I don’t know that individual’s position. What if they could only afford to go to Disneyland that one time ever and wanted to try to get on all the rides and had heard of this tactic somewhere? What if they thought they were creating a win-win situation by treating a person in a wheelchair to a day at Disneyland? What if they were raised with terrible parents who clearly didn’t set good morals and role modeling for them? Maybe they are the one to be pitied, or to be cut a break.. but how do we know they aren’t just a jackass with too much money for their own good that is exploiting a person with a disability? This is the challenge I find with acceptance. How much can we really accept before we are allowing the jerks in the world to stop around without consequence?

    On another note, I’ve really enjoyed looking through your blog. Your insight into this middle ground of disability/ able-bodied person is very interesting and valuable for my future as an OT, which I am currently in school for. Stay positive and find the good in people.. that’s what I strive for. Everybody has their thing, some just don’t know how to manage it as well I guess. Thanks again for your great posts!

    Ashley Couto

    1. Hi Ashley. You brought up a really good point I never thought about before, the limit of acceptance. One thing I (and I know most people) struggle with is balance and I think acceptance is no exception to that. I think there’s a time for acceptance but there’s also a time for speaking up when something isn’t right either. How to know when to do either I have absolutely no clue but I think at the root of both is trying to understand other people and not judge (which you elucidated really well in your comment) which is something I have a really hard time with. Because I was born with a disability, I got into the habit of thinking no one could possibly understand how hard it is to be me so I’ve admittedly not been very understanding of the way other people do things sometimes. I’ve definitely come a long way but I find that thought pattern still creeping in every now and then. Anyway going off on a tangent here but thanks very much for your thought provoking comment! I think trying to find the good in people, no matter how hard it might be, can really make a big difference.

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