How about a little acceptance?

I was supposed to fly out to North Carolina for a wedding. Unfortunately, I never made it out of Grand Rapids.

By Dr. Steve Mikulak

By Dr. Steve Mikulak

As I was being dropped off at the airport, I received a text from the airlines that my flight had been delayed – no big deal. When I got my bag out of the car, I got another text: “flight canceled, please see service desk.” When I found out the next flight was in five hours, I wasn’t happy but thought I’d at least still make the wedding. Four hours of waiting later, my second flight was canceled. I called three airlines, sat on hold over and over again as they tried to help but to no avail. I was angry and frustrated and on the phone so much with the airlines that I never got any work done. The situation straight-up sucked – until I arrived at the inevitability that my ordeal “is what it is” and there is nothing that I can do about it. There was a feeling of helplessness that I was not familiar with and did not like, so I dealt with it in the best way I knew how: I took it. I internalized it, learned from it, looked at it in any positive way I could and I moved on.

By dwelling on things that are out of your control and letting them affect you emotionally or spiritually and eventually physically, you increase your stress levels and your health starts to decline. Don’t do it!

Instead, I called a ride and chewed on my piece of humble pie the entire way home. I decided I was not going let it bother me for the rest of the weekend even though I was letting down some dear friends of mine as well as my fiancé, who had made it out a day before me. I refocused my energy on things that I needed to get done around the house and my work.

Life often throws us curve balls, some good and some less good. Though difficult at times, looking at the world through a positive lens helps you to cope with the situations you will inevitably encounter. I think that is part of the fun of life: the fact that life is unpredictable. It is also constantly changing so that means that nothing is permanent, therefore everything is temporary. Seasons always change, friends start families, new jobs, sometimes people close to you move away and new opportunities come and go all the time. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but people in your life will die and things will not always go your way.

People deal with situations in two ways:

  1. Accept it for what it is with a positive mindset and maintain your happiness and inner chill.
  2. Fight it, get angry, be miserable, frustrated, and lose your cool.

To clarify, I’m not saying to give up or given in to social norms or the “sheeple” mentality that the vast majority of mass media educated people of the world base their decisions on. Also, acceptance is not a sign of inferiority or weakness at all. You need to learn when to persevere and keep going forward in the face of adversity and when to accept things for what they are. It is a lesson that each of us must learn on our own.

Remember the saying “everything happens for a reason?” It’s true to a point. Next time you’re stuck in a less-than-favorable situation, maybe try listing some of the reasons but focus on the positive and the possibilities versus the “woe is me, nothing good ever happens to me” way of thinking. It’s less important to know why something is happening than it is to accept that it is actually happening.

No one knows what the future will hold for any of us. You can try to plan for your future, to push yourself in the direction you want but you absolutely have to accept what is happening right now. Accept it, learn from it, and allow change to happen as you encounter it. Don’t fight change – embrace it. Life can flow smoothly if you allow it to or; if you constantly resist the things changing or not changing in your current situation, life can be like a Michigan road in the spring-time: very bumpy and pothole-filled.

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