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Acceptance: A Few Thoughts Heading Into 2023

I was sitting on a downed tree in the middle of the woods recently, thinking about where I have been and where I am possibly going. More so, I thought about the here and now, which at that time, was sitting on what was once a great tree (It still was), surrounded by snow and the sound of birds chirping. It was one of the best days I have had, sitting in solitude with no distractions, except for adapting to the cold.

Often, we humans, reflect on our lives and try to find meaning. We end a year, sometimes relieved it is over, and start a new one with so-called resolutions, which by definition is: a firm decision to do or not to do something. We often make our resolutions on past mistakes or regrets. Yet, many of these will be broken within the first couple of months of the new year. Naturally, we also look back at our past year or years and will want a better one, full of joy in the new year to come. However, each year of our lives is filled with moments of happiness and moments of suffering. It is the continuation of life. In fact, joy and suffering make up our lives. It is why we must learn to accept what is, and be mindful of each moment.

I recently found the words coming from my mouth that, “2022 was a difficult year.” I exaggerated that statement. Yes, I struggled with panic and anxiety, and yes, I struggled with depression and suicidal ideation. I have not had a day without pain or discomfort since April. Most of it stress related. Toxic environments, people, and the unrealistic expectations I placed on myself led to much of it. What I should have known is that it was all in my control to accept this form of stress or not. I started a new job and had to make some hard decisions that a new employee should not have to make, but I did it for the best interest of students. However, if I look closely, pulling my mind away from those darker moments, I also had a tremendous amount of joy. We welcomed a new and wonderful addition to our family, Birdie, a goofy dog who makes us laugh. I have gotten to spend quality time with my mom. “Quality” is the key word there because time can also be stagnant. I have had no stagnating moments with her. I’ve been grateful for them all. My brother has become my best friend in many ways. He was always there, but I think as our hair grays a bit, we have grown closer, realizing we will always be there for one another. Loyalty is one of the most important values. I like the new school district I am in and the people I work with. It has been a while since I have been so valued for my skill set by administration and co-workers. I have walked the trails and began to heal my body through yoga, meditation, Reiki, Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), and strength work. I have read a plethora of good books. My new book was released by the publisher last April, and I found out who actually supported me along the way, and unfortunately, who did not. I have become more confident that I wrote a good book, and have been told so by many. It’s not easy bearing your soul onto a blank page for the world to read. Most of all, I spent another year with a companion at my side that stood by during some of my darkest hours and offered me her strength, and she never doubted mine. I have built resilience this past year, knowing I can handle just about anything, and that in itself brings joy.

I offer this, look back on your past year, or even your life, with great curiosity, never judging yourself or the happenings that took place. Do not wallow over what you may view as mistakes, and practice acceptance. When we fully accept our tougher moments, the times when we struggled, and recognize them for what they were, a learning experience in a segment of our lives, we can become wiser from the experiences.

Never hurry your life, wishing that the year, week, or moment was over. Stop complaining about Mondays and having to go to work. Has complaining ever helped your circumstances? Quit making excuses about the things in your life that you did not accomplish or the things that stop you from reaching your goals. Adapt and overcome! Start thinking about how you can serve others and accept that nobody owes you anything. Let go of what you cannot control. Stay in your lane and you will be happier. Try to be mindful of when you want to say something bad about someone else, and stop yourself from doing so, and then reframe your thoughts. You never know what someone else is going through, so let the negativity pass through you and move on. Check your ego at the door. Your life becomes richer when you accept that others have different opinions than yours, and that’s okay, there’s no reason to cancel someone out because they don’t think like you. Instead, take a moment to understand their perspective.

Know this, no matter what you are dealing with, no one is coming to save you. It’s true! You can have all the support in the world from people that actually care about you, but they cannot save you. They cannot do the work for you to make your life better. If you want to lose weight, eat better. If you want to get into shape, be consistent with exercise. If you want to have less stress, downsize your life, remove toxic people, and possibly find a new job (or at least approach your work with a different mindset). Life takes discipline.

Try accepting what comes your way this year, in 2023. Look at it with curiosity and realize that if you deny or avoid it, the issue will become worse. This mindset will help you with anything, sickness, death, mental illness, physical illness, stress, and relationships. Acceptance also helps you enjoy the good things that are happening in your life. When you allow joy into your space, your overall happiness will increase, and the moment will be remembered and cherished.

Along with acceptance, make an intention each day. Better yet, offer your intention to someone else. When you approach life with selflessness, the return is great. Be grateful for every day you wake up and when 2023 comes to an end, look back on it and smile knowing you lived well by accepting all of your emotions and circumstances. It will be difficult at times, that is for certain, but learn from it and grow.

There are things we can control in our life and many things we cannot. Acceptance is something we can control, let go of all that you cannot.

Happy New Year!

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