We humans have a remarkable ability to turn happy circumstances into unhappy ones. Have you ever gone on a weekend getaway, and the room wasn’t what you expected, or the weather turned out terrible, or someone in your group was grumpy? So now you find yourself in a situation where the reality doesn’t match the expectation.
And that makes us unhappy. It makes us uncomfortable. We reach inside and try to put on a good face and bring forth some comfort. But the result is just more discomfort. We can’t let go of what the situation could be if things were working out as we think they should.
The skill I’ve been learning is to simply accept. What is, is. I am not in control of the external world, but I am in control of how I respond to it.
Acceptance is hard. I find I won’t automatically ‘accept’ just because I tell myself to do so. I have to look at the thing that I was expecting – and let it go. That’s the hard part – to just let go. This situation is not what I expected, and it’s not going to be what I expected, so I must choose to let go of the expectation.
This movie I paid for isn’t what I expected. Let it go.
The camp sites are too close together and our neighbors are noisy. Let it go.
My friends don’t want to write new music tonight, they just want to jam. Let it go.
The first step is to be aware of what I’m holding on to. The second is to try and let that go. This action is what leads to a state of acceptance. Rather than getting caught up in my head, I can choose to let go and accept – instead of being in my head, I am alive in the present moment.
And it’s noticeably happier here.