Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Elements #23

Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. Remember, 'perfect' is the enemy of 'good'. One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept good things as they are. Sometimes it's better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people the way they are, rather than trying to make everyone and everything conform to an impossible ideal. No, you shouldn't accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.

My first reaction to this week's prompt was actually negative. I thought long and hard about that so that I could get a clear understanding of what was behind that feeling. Growing up we were challenged to find ways to make things better. Not happy with the way your room looks? Rearrange the furniture and make some new curtains. Not happy with your grades? Study a little harder. Don't like your wardrobe? Save your money to get a new one. Don't like the way that friend treats you? Find out what is going on or find a new friend. If I didn't like the fact that animals were dying from the soda can rings, cut them all and tell everyone I knew why it was so important. Write letters to the editor and to the senators & congressmen. Each thing or person that made us feel that things weren't up to par had a solution to make it better. Just accepting the situation was the "lazy" way of living.

As a young adult I tried to make things better all around me. My home was far from posh, but it was very comfortable and people felt welcome when they'd come over. If I didn't have the right ingredients for a new recipe I'd improvise instead of accepting that I just couldn't make that recipe. If I wasn't happy with some aspect of the world around me I would do what I could to help make it better (volunteer work, charity, etc.).

Later in my life I was in a relationship and there were a lot of things not quite right, but I was told time and again that I wasn't very accepting of the time together, the progression of the relationship, the person. And I began to curb my natural inclination to change the situation. If I'd not allowed the talk of "acceptance" to change my outlook, I most likely would have ended the relationship much sooner than I did. It took far too long for me to recognize that the person, while telling me that I wasn't accepting, was not accepting me to be myself.

And so, the act of "acceptance" began to take on an onerousness for me that I couldn't recognize because it was so foreign to me. To accept a situation meant that I had to swallow the bitter fruit of whatever it was and that I needed to smile as I took every bite.

Now that I've gotten through that, I think about how I feel about the course my life has taken due to my decisions and actions. I can see the goodness in my current location and I can see how precious each moments is. At the same time, I won't accept that this is all I get in life. The dreams I set aside in the previous years are not to be forgotten. My ambition for a better tomorrow for myself and for the people I can help is not to be laid aside. I continue to disagree with this prompt, but on a different level. I can't ever imagine myself being accepting of the fact that women are being abused, children are starving, animals are tortured. I also can't imagine myself accepting my "lot in life" to continue scraping by in an apartment I can scarcely afford. And so, I will not accept these things, nor will I accept a thousand other things that set my teeth on edge and cause me to want to make things better.

No comments:

Post a Comment