“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.” — Dale Carnegie
Today’s post is, by necessity, brief. But that doesn’t mean we can’t activate our brains a little…I really liked this saying in the picture below (which my 2-second Internet research tells me was coined by “Unknown”) and I think it’s true.
However, where does that leave those of us who are striving for more or to improve things? Should I just “accept what is” and be happy without trying to reach higher goals? Nah. Where’s the fun in that? Still, endless striving and never being content with what one has is certainly no recipe for happiness. Hmm, how about balance?
We all know the Serenity Prayer, right? God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Maybe that’s the key – accept it when we can’t change something–though we should really examine that assumption – there may be more we can change than we think–change what we can, and know the difference between the two. Easier said than done, maybe, but it’s a good rule of thumb.
In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, there’s obviously a lot of talk about acceptance – it’s the first word in the name of the therapy! But acceptance doesn’t mean embracing, resignation and it doesn’t mean tolerance. It’s more like acknowledging that something exists, neutrally. NOT EASY!
When we refuse or are unable to accept what is, we are “struggling against the Universe,” according to Deepak Chopra. And who am I to argue with Deepak?! Accepting where we are right now and what is happening is the first step to determining what we might be able to change, or what we can’t. Sticking our heads in the sand, or complaining to all who will listen, bemoaning our fate, doesn’t move us forward.
It’s okay to be cranky! I said that before. But at some point, we have to decide what we really want to be doing, and get busy doing that, even if it means we have to drag around some not-so-wonderful things with us or deal with not-so-fabulous circumstances.