Last week, in Acceptance – Part 2 we began to talk about some steps to genuinely accepting something. Acceptance requires us to know what we are accepting and also to acknowledge it as true. This week we are going to discuss allowing the situation and actively looking for our mistakes.
Allow it? That doesn’t make sense. I never wanted this to happen, and if I’d had my way it wouldn’t have. The word ‘allow’ has no place here.
Settle down. I understand how it sounds, but let’s explore it.
When things happen to you, they are out of your control and you are at risk of feeling like a victim. When you allow something to be, even if you had no part in its happening, you empower yourself. How? You made a choice. You saw the situation, you took the time to make sure things were as they seemed, and then you made a choice about how to handle it.
But, doesn’t everyone do that?
No. Very often, we see the situation, try to get the details, and then we allow the details to overwhelm us and victimize us and control us. We act in ways we are later ashamed of, we break good relationships because people don’t agree with us, we give up on the good things in our lives to wallow in the thing that has hurt us. We never stop and make a choice for ourselves.
That’s the ‘allowing’ we’re talking about. By allowing a situation to be what it is, you give yourself the space to evaluate it and make a reasonable decision. You give yourself a chance to breathe and then decide how to respond, instead of just reacting.
Look for your mistakes
It is indeed an unfortunate fact (yet undeniable) that we are not perfect. As such, there is always the possibility (a very high probability) that we played a part in creating or at least exacerbating the situations we find ourselves in.
Maybe you did or said some things that would have been best left undone and unsaid. Maybe in an effort to encourage change you made things worse. Maybe you chose to say nothing at a time when speaking up would have made all the difference. Maybe your inability to express emotion led to you being seen as uncaring and uninvested. Maybe you became self-absorbed and no longer had time for others.
Whatever your story is, sift through the pages carefully and with an open mind and look for your mistakes – from the subtle to the glaring – and admit to yourself that you are not blameless, that you are human, and that it’s okay. Why is this necessary? I’ll answer your question with a few questions. Do you really want to suffer through painful life events without learning anything, without getting to know yourself better, without gaining a better understanding of others? Is this the pattern you want to establish in your life? Don’t you think that seeing your own fallibility may help you along the path to forgiving others and letting things go?
Yes, it’s hard to face your mistakes and your part in hurtful events, but it is also necessary and healthy. Your ability to grow is partially dependent on this.
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Photo 2 by João Silas on Unsplash