LIFE AS IT IS
Life is not the way it’s supposed to be, it’s the way it is. The way you cope is what makes the difference. Virginia Satir
I read this quote and immediately I began thinking about how I had hoped my life would be versus the way it is. I can say that my life is nothing like I thought it would be. Nothing at all…
How many times do we imagine our futures, and how many times do our images change? If I’d had my life be as I thought it would be as a teenager, I’d be married with children and grandchildren. If I’d had my dreams from my 20s I’d have become a married lady who also practiced law bringing in extra income. If I’d had what I wanted in my 40s I’d have gotten to a high position in Chevron and be retiring with accolades and good wishes. None of those things came true. None of those things happened. Deep breath here. However, as I’ve always said, if I’d had what I’d wanted I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.
So how does one embrace the life you have when it’s nothing like the life you imagined you would have? As Virginia Satir said in the quote, life is about how you cope with it. The difference in a day is how you look at it. There are certain beliefs that I’ve accepted that in my opinion help make it easier to cope with day to day life. These are:
Acceptance of Life As It Is - To paraphrase Carole King’s lyrics, get out of bed every morning with a smile on your face[i]. That’s a start. Acceptance of life means no resistance. Stop resisting what is and accept it. As some would say, go with the flow. Accept your life’s circumstances.
Acceptance of Self - I’m living in this skin for all my life. I might as well accept it and me for what I am. As Bruce Springsteen says it’s a sad man who is living in his own skin and doesn’t like the company[ii]. I can work to better my body through exercise and taking care of myself, but first I must accept it, accept me. To finish Carole King’s lyric referred to above, I’m as beautiful as I feel. Accept and enjoy your body and mind.
Experience the Wonder in Life – Stop looking at the world with blind eyes. See the wonder that exists in the everyday routine that you have and do daily. Finding this wonder is living in the present moment. The present moment is all we have.
Accept that We are All Doing the Best We Can - Daily do you believe you are doing the best you can? Do you believe that everyone else is doing the best they can? This is a big one, and it is tough to accept or believe, however, in my opinion, if you do accept this then you can cope much better with life. If we buy into the belief that although we may not like or agree with the individual, they are doing the best they can, life is more peaceful.
Forgive Yourself and Others – If we do the things just described, it’s easier to forgive the people who are rude or unkind. Forgiveness of others and ourselves is another important key to a happy life. It is important to forgive ourselves and not judge ourselves.
Be Kind to Yourself and Others – This starts with being kind to yourself. If you’re kind to yourself, then it may be more likely that you’ll be kind to others.
Gratitude for Everyone and Everything – It’s important to be thankful. It’s important to thank God for all the good and not so good things that occur in life. Before falling asleep at night it’s relaxing and satisfying to be Thankful for all the things in your life.
Celebrate Having Today – This is it. Celebrate it.
Someone once told me that the first thing they do every morning is thank God for being given this day. I try to follow that practice. Life is a precious gift. It is the way it is. We have 2 choices… like life or hate it. Like it, accept it. I encourage you to like your life and accept it because if you hate it, that brings stress, worry, anger, and all sorts of negative emotions into your world. When I practice these beliefs and remain calm when surrounded by stressful situations and people, my life is much happier and peaceful. I believe I have a better chance of having fewer regrets at the end of my life if I follow these beliefs. I’d rather live today in acceptance and celebration of what is, for that’s all I have.