Acceptance

My week in the Philippines allowed me to practice patience by accepting the fact that much there is not as it could or should be.  If you cannot accept that simple truth, you will be very unhappy living in “paradise”.  I’m still a work in progress in that regard, but I am getting better at “taking a deep breath, relaxing, and accepting the Filipino way”.

One afternoon as I sat drinking ice cold San Miguel Light beers beach side, it occurred to me that the concept of acceptance might have some applicability to what remains of my life here in Korea.  Accepting that things are not always as I would desire them to be doesn’t make my “problems” go away, but it allows at least some additional perspective that in the grand scheme of things those problems are relatively meaningless.  Certainly being in a poverty ridden third world country underscores that point.

I am not so naïve as to think that acceptance will equate to happiness, but I’d certainly settle for a little peace of mind.  Practically speaking, here’s how I see the concept of acceptance working:

  1. Accept that the past is the past.  There’s no going back, there’s no fixing it, there’s nothing to be gained by feeling sad about what is lost.  It’s gone, let it be.
  2.  Accept that negative thinking doesn’t make things better.  I spend a lot of time in my head pondering about what I don’t have, lamenting my solitary existence, wishing for something better.  It’s pointless.  Instead I want to focus my attention outwards, helping others where I can, and taking satisfaction in my existence making a positive difference for those I am able to touch.  That’s certainly my post-retirement plan, perhaps I can get a head start now.
  3.  Accept that future plans are fraught with potential disappointment.  Instead, I’ll keep an open mind to whatever may lie ahead in life, while endeavoring to live in the moment.  As the old saying goes, “today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”.  I’m going to seek to be satisfied with each day as it comes, knowing that a bad day will give way to a new day.

So, that’s the idea.  It’s in the early stages of implementation, but already I’ve noted that I can repel the sadness (more or less) by simply uttering “acceptance!”  People probably think I’m crazy when I do, but I can accept that.

7 thoughts on “Acceptance

  1. those 3 bullet points are words of wisdom john. i can’t say it as eloquently as you can.
    my take on life and the ups and downs we encounter along the way are summed up by me with these 5 words, “it is what it is”. take care. peace out!

  2. Hi John, no doubt in my view this is the right direction! The logic and the benefits are clear. My issue is that I have never been able to apply the approach on an effective and consistent basis and slip back into “old ways” thinking. Will be interested in how you go about making it work and the techniques you use. Good luck!

  3. Agree with the above posters. I am not a very religious person, but I do like the thoughts behind the serenity prayer.

    God grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change;
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And wisdom to know the difference.

  4. Brian, yeah the serenity prayer occurred to me as well.

    So far, so good. I whisper “acceptance” about 20 times a day….

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