Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Rules of Life---Part Seven


ACCEPTANCE

I used to struggle with just about everything and anyone given a small difference in basic philosophy or principle or possession. There was a lot of fear around the unknown, around perceived differences between you and me. The worst inner battle would come around circumstances. Why did you seem to have it so easy and I would be demented from trying to make ends meet. Life was always so unfair.


I was in the habit of always comparing my insides with your outsides. I'd see you so lovely and confident and think, I could be so much more given your looks and your brains and your relationship and your career and even your car. Life was tinged with an air of dissatisfaction. I'd bring an air of judgement and condemnation to any place, person or event I didn't quite approve of. For whatever reason.



There was never enough of this world for me. If I could have slightly more, then life would be a whole lot better.

I little realized that there would never be enough. Happiness, for me, I learned, was a completely inside job. I could never find it out there. It was in that indefinable space within.

And how did I find it? Through a long process of tearing down every faulty tenet of belief I had held so dear and letting go of all the preconceived notions of how I thought the world, with me in it, functioned.

I had to start with accepting myself exactly as I was in the very moment of now. It was never about the money or the wardrobe or the stuff. It was about who I was. I needed to find that. And I think I did. I had to accept the changes that happened to me. It was okay to change. Nothing was written in stone about my life. I could move through it, I could create it day to day. I could write. I could dream. I could read the books I wanted to read. And re-read them. I could shamelessly like old black and white movies.

But the other side of that was I had to accept you as you were as well, disliking the old B&W's and hating Jane Austen and really enjoying your trumpet. That was absolutely fine too. And I had to really mean it. I had to accept your wealth or your fame and not be intimidated or envious of it. I needed to wish you well in everything. I had to let go of the desire to change you. You were exactly as you were meant to be too. You see, I used to get acceptance and approval mixed up. I thought they were one and the same thing. But they're not.



And I'm still learning and still slide a little backwards on this acceptance business from time to time. But my whole life has substantially improved as a result.

11 comments:

  1. It's quite an achievement to accept ourselves as we actually are and not constantly crave to be different, or someone else. If you've managed largely to do that, that's brilliant. I think I do fairly well on that one, perhaps because I realise that how other people appear can be very different from the reality. People who seem happy, well-off and fulfilled so often turn out to be exactly the opposite. In the end we have to be true to our own instincts and natures.

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  2. i really have made great strides toward learning this lesson. it is a very hard one. i am impatient. i am judgmental. i get exasperated.

    but i really am learning this one.

    beautiful written, WWW. well thought out. nicely said.

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  3. Yes Nick, that's all we have, the instrinsic part of us that is 'me' unique, one of a kind and as the old wan said years ago "If I knew I was going to live this long I would've taken better care of meself!"
    ----------------------------------
    I think Laurie, it is the hardest lesson of all, especially letting go of the judgementalism better known in my family as 'intellectual snobbery'.

    XO
    WWW

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  4. Coming from a background of materialism, it is sometimes hard not to judge people by those standards, but soon to be a divorced woman of very slender means will make me sing a different tune, I know I can do that, I am not too shallow not to have other qualities. I van take pride in making a euro stretch and be creative with it, being poor is the noveau riche!

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  5. Hmmmm - I had to think about this for a while and tried to be honest.

    Climbing up on WWW's couch, closing eyes......

    I don't think I ever cared much about anyone's looks, background, wealth, etc. I cared (and care) about the way they look at life, first and foremost. I do feel drawn to creative folk, especially those with writing talent, but I don't dislike or look down on anyone without such skills.

    My biggest problem comes with politics. I try to accept the views of others, and not judge them, WWW, but I find it well nigh impossible in this single area.


    The acceptance and approval contrast is helpful though. I must accept - there's nothing else I CAN do, but I don't approve, and there's no requirement for me to do so.

    Thanks for another thoughtful and thought provoking post. :-)

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  6. Nora:
    I no longer admire or covet material wealth and find that 'making do' has all sorts of attractions for me from an environmental point of view. I have to stop myself grabbing stuff unconsciously sometimes (putting back on the store shelf some bright red plates yesterday). I enjoy baking my own bread and making soup from scratch etc. Those are the real achievements.
    XO
    WWW

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  7. T:
    My biggest challenges lately have been in the arena of climate change. Seeing acquaintances buy humungous second trucks, etc., and zipping my mouth up.
    Like you I'm drawn to artists or as I like to call them "inners" people who place more value on interior life than exterior frontage.
    In my post, I mainly was referring to my struggling single-mom years, career, children, falling down old house, breaking down old car, etc. etc. There never seemed to be enough of anything. But come to think of it, our inner lives were very rich at the time tho I didn't see it then. I lived in 'without'.
    Your response has made me think ;^)
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Blimey, you make my latest posting seem somewhat shallow by comparison WWW!

    Mind you I like to hope one can always become the GTi version of oneself and no one is set in stone/stuck in their rut iredeemably.

    I've changed enormously over the course of my adult life and enjoy the company of people who are also capable of change.

    As for relationships, acceptance/compromise is a two-way street though if you don't have enough in common, perhaps the other person just isn't for you.

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  9. I agree on the relationships thing, Laura, tho something must have been there for the original attraction (unless it was solely the lust factor!)
    Funny about your post today, my experience with the wealthy is that most are totally depressed and unhappy. Maybe it's like the song: is that all there is? I think that to accumulate that kind of self-made wealth, the inner self is submerged and the material is made far too important.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. When I left home and came down to London 30odd years ago I lived in a pokey little bedsit in East London. To help stave off rickets and malnutrition I bought Katherine Whitehorn's 'Cooking in a Bedsitter'. In it I found these immortal words: "If your friends don't like garlic, get some new friends." Substitute for 'garlic' anything else that is really dear to you. Infallible advice.

    For me it is 'Jane Austen'.

    Hates Jane Austen indeed!

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  11. OF:
    I wasn't referring to friends who hate Jane but rather acquaintances or merely people crossing my path.
    I can accept them but I don't have to bosom-buddy them.
    XO
    WWW
    PS that book sounds great though it must be out of print....

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