In previous articles we have discussed ways to eliminate tolerations in our lives. Tolerations are situations we can change, but we also encounter unpleasant situations in our lives that we can’t change. When change is impossible, we can reduce our stress by accepting the situation.
You may have a physical limitation, a monetary limitation, a negative person in your life, or a responsibility that is difficult to fulfill.
As an example, I have a physical limitation : Asthma.
Before I came to accept the physical limitations caused by my asthma, I made myself miserable on a climb up a Glacier in New Zealand. I was frustrated and angry when I couldn’t keep up with the 5-year-old girl or the 75-year-old man in our group.
Instead of enjoying the natural beauty all around me, I fumed for hours. How could I be so useless and weak?
A few years later I came to a level of acceptance of my physical limitations.
On a trip by bicycle to a village in Laos, I immediately realized I couldn’t ride up the hills. Instead of getting angry and beating myself up, I called for a truck to transport me.
What a pleasure it was riding with the breeze through my hair. I was even rewarded for my acceptance of the situation: I got my own personal tour of a village that had never been visited by Westerners before.
You may ask why I went biking in the mountains in the first place. Learning to accept an unpleasant situation isn’t easy. Step one for me was to let go of my frustration. Step two came later. I finally became more realistic about which adventures to choose. Now my husband and I choose boat trips and jeep trips, and if there is hiking we find out if it is easy enough for me.
The point is that an unpleasant circumstance met with the “right attitude” can be a positive factor in your life (or at least a neutral one). Through acceptance you can stop wasting emotional energy and start finding creative ways to make the situation better.
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