A participant in one of my TeamUp Triad Coaching sessions was complaining about how difficult it was for her to visit her in-laws; she thought their house was too dirty and messy and couldn’t understand why they didn’t make an effort to keep it cleaner. Just the thought of visiting them made her feel uncomfortable.
When we talked about it, she realized that she was making herself upset by expecting them to be in a certain way and imposing her idea of how clean a house should be onto them.
We probably all have been in a situation where we really wanted things to be different than they were – I know I have – but what I’ve realized is that the best thing to do in any situation we can’t control is to acknowledge that ‘it is what it is’ and fully accept it.
What stands in our way to accepting things fully are sometimes the expectations we hold. We often expect people and situations to conform to the way we want them to be, rather than who or what they are. I’ve found that by loosening up my expectations and meeting people or situations as they actually are puts me in a more expanded and open state.
None of us go through life without experiencing unpleasant and unexpected situations. You might lose a job or get rejected by a partner. It doesn’t even have to be that dramatic, there are often small events in daily life we didn’t wish for: dropping the newly cooked soup all over the kitchen floor or waking up to rain when the plan was to go hiking. As you are reading this you might be thinking “so should I then just do nothing and stay passive in order to accept things as they are?”
One of the biggest misconceptions about acceptance is believing it equals being passive. It is actually quite the opposite: by accepting and seeing a situation truly as it is it frees us to take mindful and clear action. It doesn’t mean that we won’t experience unpleasant emotions, but it allows us to act instead of react. The most effective thing you can do in any moment is to accept and look at the situation that is here right now and act in the best way you can.
Below a short video of Brian Bauerle, Director of the Asian Leadership Institute and co-founder of TeamUp, sharing his wisdom.
TRY IT OUT! Take a few moments to think of a situation or person in your life where you are experiencing resistance to what is. The resistance might go together with a lot of ‘shoulds’ in your mind. Take a deep breath and say ‘It is what it is’ and feel a sense of acceptance of that situation right now or how that person behaves. Don’t take it personally. Notice what happens when you flip your internal struggle switch. Then decide your next action (which can be non-action).
In the comments below I would love to hear how you’ve experienced this practice.
Co-founder of TeamUp
Find out more about TeamUp Triad Coaching and how to participate in one of our personal growth courses here.