For me, acceptance is a critical strategy for finding peace.
When I’m upset it’s usually because there is a difference between what I want and what I have. Something seems unacceptable to me. For instance, I want a government that supports wind and solar but I have a government that supports oil and gas. That infuriates me! Or I want a government that supports pro-life but I have a government that allows abortions. To many people, that’s infuriating!
One strategy is to work to change what I have; work to change the policies of my government. Another strategy is to work to change what I want; work to change how I look at things. That’s an inside job. That’s acceptance.
Here’s the tricky part: When to fight for change and when to accept what is. A well-known prayer calls that “the wisdom to know the difference.”
For me, one often follows the other. I fight like hell and then at some point I try to accept. I’m expecting that point to happen around 8pm tonight when the polls close.
I have knocked on doors, written letters, made phone calls, and given money; all to change things. Yet the results of this election are not up to me and not all my responsibility. 8pm marks a turning point from “courage to change” to “serenity to accept.”
I do the best I can – I put it all out there and leave it all on the field of battle – and then once the battle is over I let go of the fight and accept the results. That’s how I find peace.
Sometimes before the battle is over, or even before it’s begun, I try to imagine losing. I practice acceptance in advance. “What’s the worst that can happen?” I ask myself. It helps me to prepare for that.
And sometimes after the battle is over I can’t let go of the outcome. I want to keep fighting. I seek new fights to overturn the last outcome. And that’s okay if I am driven from within and game for continued conflict.
What’s not okay — if you want any hope of finding inner peace — is to complain about the past without trying to change or accept things going forward. Yelling about “how things should have happened” is a set-up for continued inner turmoil. Instead I try to tell myself, “Okay, this is how things are now. In light of this new reality, what should I do? Who should I be?”
You have to decide for yourself where the line is. When to fight. When to accept. I am wishing you wisdom to guide your decision.
Yet I’m also reminding you that you have choices. Peace is available to you if you are able to look at things differently.