Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Accept It or Change It (because grumbling gets us nowhere)

For years I grumbled about clutter in my home. "It's their fault," I told myself, because I knew I wasn't the pack rat. When I tried to get rid of stuff, they got mad at me, and it was an ugly scene. When I did manage to clear a space, it would get filled up again virtually overnight. I was between a rock and a hard place.

Eventually I stopped trying and decided I needed to just accept the situation. Why, I asked myself, was this such a big deal? That philosophy worked to some degree, and it could have been my ticket to freedom, except for the fact was that it was not okay with me and I was playing small regarding something that was largely within my power to change. It wasn't like I was trying to build a time machine or cure cancer, for heaven's sake---I just wanted to improve the vibe of my home.

I knew I couldn't change them, but I could get creative and get to work! I could stop whining and start going through drawers. I could rework and refresh one area at a time. I could do this in a peaceful, confident, and non-punitive way that didn't cause others to panic or feel threatened. There would still be stuff around that I didn't like, but these items are where I would apply my acceptance. I would remind myself that I'm not the only person who lives in the house, and that's it's appropriate to compromise.

When I stopped grumbling, stopped trying to accept something that was unacceptable, and started doing the work of positive change, my whole attitude shifted. I realized that I had been in charge of my situation all along, but hadn't realize it.

Is there an area of your life where you grumble and complain incessantly? This is where you're leaking your energy and power. This is the area where you're, perhaps, not taking responsibility for your life. If you have an argument ready to go about how you really are powerless in this situation, then you're right. There's nowhere to go from there.

Sometimes the answer to our discontentment is to accept a person or situation the way it is. (Controlling and judging everything just causes friction, and expecting things to be perfect is unrealistic). Sometimes the answer is to gather our courage and change the situation in some key way This can be stressful or require a lot of energy or innovation on our part. It can involve personal or financial risk.

Even if the solution is obvious to others, acceptance and/or change are not easy. If they were, we wouldn't have grumbled for so long. But whining puts out a very weak signal to the universe, and we don't want to do that anymore, do we?

This week, I ask you to scan your life for where you might be feeling stuck or chronically aggravated. It's time to take your power back by either accepting the situation and finding peace there, or doing the work of change. Resist the temptation to blame others or get into a depressed funk about it. I guarantee you that inside of you is a bold, bright, creative soul who can push past your current limitations. Connect with that essence and just watch things improve. You can do this.