“Happiness can exist only in acceptance”
– George Orwell
Finding a notable quote on acceptance was difficult. I wouldn’t normally mention it, but I think it’s actually telling. We think and speak so often of how we might modify our present and future. It’s less popular to discuss being satisfied with life as it exists today. Nevertheless, I think Mr. Orwell has it right.
In past posts, I have dealt with the sort of ambition required to overcome any obstacle and push through any barrier to realize your dream. The entire concept of acceptance may fly in the face of such an approach, but it is perhaps more important than any of the other traits I’ve discussed. Anyone who hopes to achieve great things in life must be equally able to identify their reasonable limits when they exist.
There’s a very famous Christian prayer which says, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Honestly, I think this summarizes what I might say very succinctly.
My previous postings dealt with situations where we find within ourselves the courage to change what we can – but how can we tell the difference? When is an obstacle truly insurmountable? The reality is, there are some things we cannot change regardless of any effort or wishful thinking. Wisdom is perhaps a conversation for another day, but we must be willing to be truly honest with ourselves at every junction. Pouring effort into an achievable goal will yield far greater rewards then endlessly throwing yourself into an unyielding wall.
So what can we do upon encountering something which truly cannot be overcome? Acceptance. We all have our strengths and our challenges. Perhaps you find the idea of becoming a studio artist very compelling but you have no artistic ability nor the inclination to develop it. In that case, it may be a foolish and fruitless pursuit. Likewise, you may truly crave a more specific type of career that only exists in more metropolitan areas but real commitments keep you where you are today. You can spend your life begrudging circumstances for holding you in place, or you can accept things as they are and look for another path forward that is more viable.
Or maybe your barrier isn’t the circumstances around you but the limitations within. The human spirit is an incredible thing. Very real people like yourself have demonstrated nearly unbelievable achievements throughout history, but there are things that are legitimately beyond anyone’s ability. Know how to identify your real and immovable boundaries.
On the other hand, so many people never notice that the hand holding them back is their own. This is equally dangerous and detrimental. I believe that you will never find real happiness without practicing acceptance and contentment. I also believe that happiness depends on satisfaction which comes through accomplishment. There may be limitations to how far you can go – as there are for everyone – but you absolutely possess an incredible capacity. Please don’t be the one that keeps you from realizing your potential. Self-actualization is incredibly powerful.
Thank you for your time.