When we are struggling in coping with a troubling issue, we basically have two choices: We can accept the underlying reality of the situation, or we can deny it. It’s your choice to make!
I strongly encourage people to choose acceptance because that is the only way we can begin to effectively deal with the problem. But here’s the irony—and challenge: We must first overcome our denial before we know what it is that needs accepting. Which is to say, denial obscures acceptance.
It’s no easy task because we tend to be quite clever and creative with our denials. Wishful thinking is pervasive. So, too, is our propensity to turn a blind eye or suddenly become a “minimalist.” Typical situations are where parents fail or are too slow to recognize the extent of their children’s drug or alcohol use, when a loved one fails to recognize that his or her partner is dealing with severe anxiety or depression, and when we aren’t addressing a serious health condition.
An even more powerful obstacle is the persistent belief that we have the power to make things better when, in fact, we don’t. Call this, if you will, the Superman myth. Members of this not so exclusive club include control freaks, dedicated problem solvers, perfectionists, and others with inflated egos. In short, they believe they can conquer reality.
Such people persist in trying to find solutions until they can’t “fly” anymore and crash to the bottom. Only then are they able to recognize that they are powerless over the matter. Regrettably, by that time they may have ruined or lost close relationships or salvageable situations may have become irreparable.
But you need not reach that dire point if you let go of your denial and accept “what is.” My forthcoming book The Gifts of Acceptance includes a chapter on letting go of denial and stories of how people, including many control freaks, were able to overcome their denial. (You can download the first chapter of the book for free by clicking here) You can also get some tips from my recent blog post on the subject.
In the meantime,
Let It Go—and Accept What Is!
…and Let’s Help Make Acceptance Go Viral!
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