How To Accept What You Can't Change

I always wondered, why it's been so difficult for me to move on from things and let them go. I tend to hold on to them and drag them around until I'm exhausted because of it. I am so annoyed at everything that happens, that I have no influence over. Frustrated by the things I can't change about my body. Annoyed, that I can't change the people around me. Annoyed that I can't do much about the terrible things that happen in the world and how everyone moves on with their life like nothing is happening. In my head, I don't want to let go of the possibility that I can somehow change them, go back to the past and change what I said, did or didn't do. Or what someone else did. What happened to someone.

What I've realized is, I'm seriously lacking the skill to accept the things I can't change.

Of course, I have heard of the steps of grief:

  1. Denial and isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

But I always get stuck at depression. I simply cannot reach the fifth stage: acceptance. And I think it is tough for a lot of people. Because it feels like we're giving up. Like we're weak. Like we stop fighting. Like we give up hope.

But that's not actually true at all. It clicked for me when I heard this quote:

"God give me the strength to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference."

In my personal opinion it probably wouldn't be God, who could help me with this, but certainly something I could work on myself. Because that's the way you should approach things. Categorize them. Immediately sort them into "in my power" and "I can do absolutely nothing about it". Not only does that take a whole weight off of your shoulders, but it helps you to gather your strength for the things you can actually affect. Immediately doesn't that seem a lot more productive and healthy to see things that way? I think so. 

Yet, even though you know you can't do anything about a lot of things, it still often isn't easy to accept. But that's something everybody should actively work on for a healthy mind.

So here are some ways that might help to do so, that I have come up with and will be working with myself:

  • Let go of the past. Know the only thing that matters is the exact place you're in right now. And forget what was. Try to work towards making your present as good as possible.
  • Analyze. Maybe actually sit down and write down the things in your life that you can and cannot change. It will help you to see more clearly.
  • Convince yourself. I've recently discovered how efficient Mantra-like sentences are, that, if you keep repeating sentences, that you know you need to hear, back to yourself in your head, or write them down. It does a lot. Your mind needs a bit of convincing sometimes to believe you.
  • Remember you're just human. Don't give yourself more responsibility and power than you actually have. And don't see that as a negative thing. Feel freer because of it.
  • Analyze your fears. If you get that nagging feeling again that tells you what you did wrong in the past or what you should do and change, but can't: don't brush it off, analyze it. Look at that fear under the magnifying glass, what is it exactly, and you will probably see it's pointless and then tell yourself that, and connect it to that feeling, so eventually, you will learn to remember and let go of the feeling.

What will happen if you master acceptance: What I hope and think happens if you truly accept what you can't change? I think you will see things a lot more clearly, become more motivated to get up and change the things for the better that you can actually change and will be surprised how much that actually is. You will become happier and healthier. You will get along better with people, and like them better, if you accept them for who they are, and stop wishing they would change. Maybe if you accept a certain person will never change, you will remove them from your life and that will be a huge relief. 

Let me know how good you are at accepting things, and moving on with your life! And what you still wish you could influence, but know you can't! Or if you have any advice? Let me know in the comments.


Emma x