Happiness and Acceptance of Discomfort

When I was younger I was afraid of getting my socks wet during a hike. Or being caught without Chapstick. Or being too hot or too cold.  It didn’t limit my activities but I did spend time feeling anxious about it and preparing so as to avoid these discomforts.

So of course one day I fell in the stream and ended up with soaking wet boots and socks and everything else. After about three seconds of shock and “I can’t believe this actually happened to me,” I felt totally liberated.  Because the hike back to the car was a solid hour and there was absolutely nothing I could do change things. So I radically accepted what was.  And I knew I could handle it.

This trivial but true example is a quick illustration of two really important concepts that can add hugely to our happiness by relieving our suffering: radical acceptance and faith (either in self or some higher power). Not fighting what is and deeply knowing you can get through it is a very thick shield that can protect you from crippling anxiety, depression, anger, hopelessness…you get the picture.  It might seem like a tall order to accept and have faith during more dire circumstances, but I have witnessed the effects of these skills in people with debilitating chronic illnesses or facing terrible life events. It is possible. You just have to be willing to try.