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The Blessings of Acceptance

Control and Illness: How Letting Go of Control Can Ease the Pain and Suffering

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Excessive control adversely impacts us emotionally, spiritually, creatively, and financially.   The intensity of controlling actions literally blinds us and we are unable to see the opportunities, nor be aware of the beauty, that is before us.  Instead, we become imprisoned by our fears, obsessions, and worries, all of which deprive us of our serenity.

What is less evident, however, is that over-managing our health impediments creates unnecessary pain and suffering as well.  An inspirational case in point is that of Gabrielle, who suffers from a severe Bi-Polar condition.   In a recent post on her blog, Gabrielle shares why she chose to relinquish control in managing her illness.  After describing how difficult it is for her to relinquish control—it goes against her nature, makes her feel weak and hopeless, and takes her to a very dark place—she confides that she has accepted that she is no longer in charge of her condition.

Relinquishing Control Reduces the PainAnd Makes Options Clear

By choosing to relinquish control, Gabrielle has found that, “It certainly beats repeatedly banging my head against the Bi-Polar wall.  It also conserves energy that is then at my disposal for me to enjoy during the days of fresh air and sunshine.”

Gabrielle’s story and ones like it confirm that the more we are able to accept the underlying “truths” of our misfortunes—even tragedies—to accept “what is,” the less pain and discomfort we will have to endure.   It is the vital and often difficult process of acceptance that enables us to recognize the meaningful choices we have before us to improve our lives.

Often we can find acceptance in the most unlikely places.  I am constantly enlightened when I see smiling faces on the poor and downtrodden. They may not like their situation, but they make the best of it and may even have hope that the future will be brighter.  Conversely, I am regrettably not surprised when I observe frowns and bitterness on the faces of those more fortunate.  The ability and willingness to accept does not discriminate.

Acceptance Does Not Mean Approval

To be clear, accepting “what is” does not mean we are giving our approval to a situation.  Rather, it means that we accept its “reality.”   For example, accepting another’s poor social etiquette or strange ways does not mean that we condone or excuse the behavior.   In the case of Gabrielle, accepting her illness doesn’t mean she “gives in” to it. But acceptance does allow us to let our judgments go and focus on what we have the power to do or change in order to make things better for ourselves. For example, if we are confronted with a person we don’t like, we can choose to focus on (and appreciate) that person’s positive qualities.  Or, if we find none, we can simply choose not to socialize as much with him or her.

The Synergistic Interplay between Relinquishing Control and Accepting What Is

There is a vital connection between accepting “what is” and relinquishing control.   We must be willing to relinquish control in order to truly accept “what is.”  Yet, we must also be willing to accept “what is” if we wish to let go of control.  Control and acceptance work together to bring greater serenity into our lives.  Gabrielle expresses this so poetically when she shares with us, “The truth is: I don’t manage my illness/condition.  I let it manage me.”

Remember, Let it Go!

Danny

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