Happiness and a Fine Balance

In the type of therapy I do I talk pretty equally about radical acceptance (not fighting or judging what is) and making change (in how you think and what you do, ultimately leading to changing how you feel).  And so the issue of finding a balance between acceptance and making change often comes up.

There are some things we need to radically accept – death is a good example.  There is no use trying to change or undo it.  I’ve known people who have stayed in suffering for years, unwilling to accept that their beloved pet had died.  And some things we must change – being treated poorly in a relationship.  I’ve yet to come across a reason why we should accept that.  And then there are times when we need to find a balance of the two.  For years I struggled with a back injury that was painful and limiting.  My lack of radical acceptance around that kept me in suffering.  When I finally accepted that this injury would never fully heal and I would have to learn to live with it, I was able to move through a lot of fear and sadness and anger and get back to myself.  I kept hope and empowerment alive by continuing to work on improving my back, always keeping in mind that any improvement is a gift and it will never be what it once was.

It can be tricky sometimes, accepting reality while changing it.  But once you realize that these two states are not mutually exclusive, you can breathe a sigh of relief because you don’t have to choose only one or the other in difficult situations.  Phew!