Question: Dear Luise: How do we develop the quality of acceptance? Is it something in our nature or absent from it? Or is it something we can learn about and cultivate? I seem to be missing this component in my makeup to a large degree. I am always judging, evaluating, comparing and complaining. It doesn’t do much good…people, places and things continue on the way they were before I decided they weren’t OK. I’m the one who pays. I’m constantly agitated and I’m sure…irritating to be around. Do you know what I’m talking about? Any words of wisdom or encouragement? Bud
Answer: Dear Bud: You are unusual in that most of the people who have the behavior pattern you describe, don’t know it. And they would never want it pointed out. The fact that you have grown somewhat tired of yourself is a great incentive to modify your behavior, and you bet you can if you are motivated to do so.
All of the above is probably true. Some people just have more placid natures than others. Role models have an influence on us early in life, as well. Sometimes, but not always, a long life can bring about a more accepting nature. My husband is 95, and in great shape physically and mentally. When I comment on how easily he has “people, places and things” be how they are, he suggests that it’s lucky I didn’t know him in his prime. He assures me that he was often a bundle of anxiety, highly competitive and had very little tolerance for any values not reflecting his own. He insists that he has learned that about 90% of what we fuss about is totally unnecessary and useless, and I think he’s probably right on.
The only key that I am aware of for you to use to start to free yourself from the prison of your own prejudices is to start asking yourself if it is any of your business…really. If what is bothering you is something in yourself and your immediate, personal circumstances that you have the power to change without it’s affecting anyone else, than go ahead…get upset about and do something about it. If not, let it go.
If you choose to use my measuring stick you will probably be dumbfounded at how many things you stick your nose into that are truly not in you sphere of influence. Things that involve the choices of others are in their jurisdiction, not yours.
The best way for you to develop the quality of acceptance that you so desire is to start out noticing every time your ire is up and to be as detached as you can about deciding if it is about you. If it isn’t, back off. It may feel nearly impossible to let it pass, but please note the word “nearly”. You can do it. Practice makes perfect when it comes to old, outmoded habits. Watch your spirits lift as you create a more comfortable life for yourself. You’re in the driver’s seat. You always have been. Blessings, Luise