Day 20 – Acceptance

I can’t believe this series on anxiety is about to wrap up. 21 days go by quickly! This has been a fun experience for me and I am excited about embarking on a new blogging adventure starting Feb. 1st! Stay tuned for the new topic!
But to finish what I started…  I have done a lot of reflecting on what causes anxiety and worry over the past month. Even more important than employing strategies to control it, is coming to a better understanding of why we face it. It seems like it should be so easy. If there is a quality about us we don’t like, we change it right? But alas, not so much.
I think a lot of what’s behind anxiety, has to do with a lack of acceptance and even perhaps contentment with where we are in life and the inevitabilities life brings. Not all discontentment is bad. Sometimes lacking contentment can drive us toward great change; we may see an injustice and become utterly frustrated and consumed by whatever is taking place that we move into action! That’s obviously not a bad thing.
But more often than not, we simply don’t want to face reality and we believe somehow that complaining, worrying, stressing out and experiencing anxiety will help us gain control. It doesn’t.
There are two main areas I want to focus on:
 
  • Acceptance of the unknown
  • Acceptance of that which we can’t control
 
  1. My life is full of unknowns right now and I have tons of friends who are experiencing similar situations. I have a close friend who is scheduled to have a c-section tomorrow. Talk about an unknown… What she does know is that as of tomorrow life is going to look completely different. However, as this is her first child, she has no idea what that really means. What will she feel like? What will it be like to have a baby in the house? How will she and her husband relate to one another now that it’s not just the two of them anymore? The list goes on… As my husband is in law school right now and graduating in a few  years, we are wondering… what will life look like after? Where will we live? Where will he work? Will we have kids by then? The unknown can cause great fear and worry for many people. While we can prepare to no end, there will always be unanswered questions in life and eventually we need to just accept that fact rather than getting bogged down by everything that could happen. Let’s start focusing on what is happening right in front of us today!
 
  1. Oh how I wish I could control all things…. But sadly that’s not possible. I had a huge emotional breakdown on my honeymoon of all places because the realization hit me that my hubby is going to do things throughout our marriage that I can’t control, and yet will probably be greatly affected by. And vice versa (although that reality doesn’t scare me as much J). I think the fact that it didn’t hit me until after I had agreed to all of the “for better or worse” stuff is in part due to God’s sense of humor (because there wasn’t much I could do at that point) and in part due to my own delayed reactions. Anyway, stressing out about this fact will not change anything. Instead, I have chosen to just live my life and allow my husband to live his without nagging, nitpicking or trying to control him (which at times I do quite successfully and other times not so much). The point is, there are things in life we can’t control and that is okay. Yes we may be affected by things we wish we weren’t, but when that happens you just deal with it. Trying to anticipate or plan for these things to occur will only create a constant stream of worry and anxiety in your life.
 
One last note on acceptance – I read a grief book this past year and one thing really stood out to me that I continue to think about from time-to-time. The author of the book (called Life After Loss – highly recommend it by the way) talked about the importance of getting to a point where you stop asking the question “Why?” (“Why did this happen? Why do things have to change?” “Why did this person die?” etc.) and instead start asking “How?” (“How do I work thru this?” “How do I learn from what’s happened?”) “How” is more of an action word and when asked, implies a readiness for growth and moving forward. This takes time. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight and particularly with grieving, it’s quite natural to remain in the “Why?” stage for a while. But I liked the distinction between those two words and the fact that they reveal a lot about the state of the person asking those questions.
I know this is long and I am trying to squeeze all my final thoughts into just two more days of posting on this topic. I hope you have enjoyed the series and welcome any and all comments. See you tomorrow for Day 21!

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