Learning to live with things you cannot alter
Consider a time when you attempted to exert influence over another person or situation in order to achieve your goals. How did the outcome compare to your forecast? If not, what were the reasons for the objection? In my experience, making an effort to exert influence over external factors almost never ends up being fruitful because the world we live in is more powerful. Instead, we should shift our outlook on the present circumstances and learn to accept them in their current form. Because there are times when we have no control over the situation, we need to learn to accept the things that we are unable to alter. You don’t have to agree with what’s going on, but if you can accept it, it will lessen the amount of pain and suffering you’re going through and give you the ability to choose inner peace and freedom.
One thing to take into account is the following
Acceptance is not synonymous with resignation or indifference. It is a silent acceptance on the part of an individual of the current state of affairs. This is not to say that things won’t get better in the future because they very well might. Nevertheless, the circumstances are as they are at the moment, and we need to let go of our resistance to the way things ought to be. We don’t have to agree with what’s going on, but we can accept it and make the best of the situation we’re in right now. This is a point that bears emphasizing because it’s such an important consideration.
The Dalai Lama said: “It is unavoidable to suffer. One need not go through suffering if they so choose.” Meaning: life will throw us curveballs from time to time, and we must avoid adding judgment to the mix because it only serves to fuel our suffering. It requires coming to terms with the difficulties and setbacks that are inevitably part of living life and refusing to let them defeat you. Would you be able to do this? Would you be able to give in to yourself and let go of your resistance so that you could experience inner peace? Accepting circumstances over which one has no control may require tapping into one’s own innate sense of wisdom.
You have the ability to pick and choose your mentality
Alternately stated, the recipe for pain and suffering is trying to control reality when we are limited in who and what we can control. Trying to control reality is a recipe for pain and suffering. You will have experienced conflict and resistance if you have ever been in an intimate relationship and tried to exert your will over your partner in that relationship. But if you can learn to accept them in their current state, the thing that bothers you the most about them might actually start to change. There are no guarantees, but regardless, you will have progressed and discovered inner peace. This is far more important than attempting to influence the behavior of other people. We need to adjust how we think about them in order to gain a new perspective on the situation. Trying to exert control over reality will only lead to anguish and suffering on our part because other people will let us down and our circumstances won’t always be in our favor. In the end, life is not about exerting control over other people or the circumstances around us because these are both outside of our sphere of influence.
Once we come to terms with what we are unable to alter, we are freed from the shackles of our attachment to those things and are able to enjoy inner freedom and peace. This can take practice, and at first, it may be challenging because the ego prefers to retain control of situations. However, this sense of control is an illusion because if we cannot control the actions of other people or the conditions in the outside world, then our ability to control reality is severely constrained. As a result, we liberate ourselves from the shackles of control and are free to make our own decisions regarding how we should react. When we accept everything as it is, we open ourselves up to an infinite number of possibilities, which in turn grants us the freedom to be who we truly are. This freedom is unrestricted by the words or actions of other people. Because a person who is accepting of reality is free to choose their attitude regardless of what happens to them, it is not bound by what happens to them. This is power in its purest form. When it comes to power, it is not about exercising control or trying to manipulate other people because, in the end, this only works against us.
Are you able to accept things in their current state?
In light of this, think back to the earlier situation or person about whom you were questioned in the introductory paragraph. It could have been a member of your family, a close friend, or even an intimate partner that you attempted to exert control over. Perhaps it was a job, a new apartment, or a piece of technology that you had your sights set on. Regardless of what it is, try to recall the experience as accurately as possible and call up the feelings that you felt during it. Did you experience feelings, such as rage, frustration, hatred, or disappointment? If your feelings are a barometer of how you navigate through life, then it makes perfect sense that negative feelings serve as a warning signal when there is something incorrect with the way you are thinking or acting. To put it another way, the negative feelings you experience when you try to exert control over other people or over the events that occur in your life are the planet’s way of telling you to stay out of its business.
Consequently, I would like to ask you to think about one or two situations that you have been attempting to control. Consider whether you are capable of accepting the situation in its current state, even if only for a single day. Take note of how you’re feeling. Do you experience moments of inner peace, freedom, or a sense of serenity in your life? If you want to take the practice to the next level, try extending it for an additional day and keeping it up for at least seven days in a row. The effects of clinging desperately to a circumstance that is beyond your control are outweighed by the benefits of non-resistance, despite the fact that it may be challenging at first. After all, when we accept life in its current state, we give ourselves permission to act in accordance with the facts and we free ourselves from the need to cling to unfavorable feelings.