“If a person attempts to turn their mind toward these thoughts, and to persuade themselves to accept with willingness that which is necessary, they will pass through life with complete moderation and harmony.” – Epictetus
Everyone we have ever met has been through something they currently consider the most difficult event in their lives. Some of us might even have trouble deciding which one of the difficult events that we have endured is in fact the most difficult.
Today, let’s think back to the most difficult situation we have ever encountered and dealt with. We can spend the rest of the day thinking about how much control we had over the event occurring in the first place and then we can focus a little on the event itself. Specifically, let’s think back to two aspects of the event. The first being how the event has affected us long term, both negative and positive. The second being how we dealt with the event as it was unfolding, in the immediate aftermath and how we have processed it long term.
As we think about the most difficult thing we have ever had to endure with these specific angles in mind, we might find that we could have saved ourselves a lot of frustration and heartache if we had moved to acceptance a little faster.
It is important to keep in mind, acceptance is not the same as resignation. Acceptance does not mean that responsible parties should not be held accountable, it does not mean that we sit on our couches and watch life pass us by. Acceptance means that we recognize that in any situation there are many aspects we have no control over. We need to be able to accept these aspects as out of our control so that we can be most effective in the areas we do control. Some of the things we have no control over will be harder to accept than others. Reflecting back on past difficult times, dissecting them and recognizing what could have been done differently helps us prepare for future difficulties. And there will be future difficulties.
Reaching acceptance earlier will lead to more contentment.
virtus fortis vocat