I was listening to the breakfast show on Radio 2 the other week. Chris Evans was interviewing (my former teenage crush) Chesney Hawkes and somehow got onto the subject of acceptance. Once the interview had wrapped up, Chris continued to muse on the importance of acceptance in order to be happy with your lot and I have to say I’m inclined to agree.
There are many versions of the serenity prayer, the one I’ve chosen above is neither appropriate for me (I’m pretty much an atheist), or for its intended purpose (it’s often used at AA meetings), but hey I thought it was a fun take on the mantra. There is, of course, the traditional version.
Or the Robbie Williams version where he substitutes ‘God’ for ‘Elvis’ (and why not?)
In my younger years I would constantly whinge that life wasn’t fair. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t have it all. I didn’t want to have to work for it, I didn’t even want to have to wait for it, I wanted it all now and, preferably, for free. I couldn’t fathom why people wouldn’t want the same things as me. I tried to change people, to mould them into what I thought they should be. I continually felt out of sorts and as if ‘one day’ everything would fall into place.
I guess you could say that one day it did. Although I think it was more like a culmination of days. Acceptance is not something to be taken lightly. If you’re not careful acceptance can become not trying. It can easily turn into ‘well that’s my lot, why bother’ and that’s not helpful to anyone. But neither is thinking you’re going to be a millionaire someday when you’re clearly not, or believing you could be a pop star when you’re actually tone-deaf. Believing otherwise only leaves you discontented.
It’s all about having a happy medium, believing in yourself and challenging yourself but in areas that you know you are adept in, or skills that you really want to work on. You need to appreciate that if it’s something you really want, you’re going to have to work for it and sometimes you’re going to have to work hard. Likewise, it’s about not beating yourself up when things don’t go to plan. Not getting cross with other people when they don’t do what you want them to do. Not pushing yourself to the point of burn-out when it was never really your thing anyway.
Here are some of the things I’ve accepted (and, yes, I’m more content as a result of that acceptance)…
- I’ll never be a natural runner – it’s something I’ll always have to work at.
- I’ll never be able to do clean eating 100% – if I try to eat healthy 100% of the time I rebel and gorge myself on junk food. A daily diet of 75% healthy food, 25% naughty treats keeps me on the wagon for longer.
- I may well lose my sight. I appreciate that sounds melodramatic and I don’t mean it to be. But it’s something I have to think about. I don’t dwell on it in a melancholy way, I just use it as a reminder to appreciate all the things I can see around me today (Sahara-induced smog as I write this!).
- I’ll never have the relationship I’d like to have with certain members of my family.
- Sometimes people are just grumpy and there’s nothing you can do to cheer them up. Just leave them be.
- I don’t have the patience for sewing, knitting, or any such handicraft – although I do try!
- If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it.
- I will always need chocolate in my life.
- Some people just don’t like coffee (although I’m still highly suspicious as to how these people get through the day..!).
- People will rip the piss out of me for fancying Chesney Hawkes!
What do you think, is acceptance important for your happiness?