It Is What It Is-How To Let Go
Control freaks find that a very annoying saying. I live my life according to it. How do we just 'let go' and 'let it be'?
Help Yourself Get Empowered
The shelves in bookstores, libraries, your local supermarket, and any other places that carry reading material are filled with self help books. Books to help you cope, to make you into the person you want to be, to make you successful, more beautiful, more money-wise, and more 'whatever' society thinks you should be. Why are we so worried that we aren`t good enough? Why is it so hard to just "Let go and let God"? Why is it so hard for us to just be content and accept things for what they are? What about "It is what it is"?
It Is What It Is
Acceptance is simply letting life happen and acknowledging that it will happen with or without you. Why fight something if you have no control over it? Why worry and stress and lose precious sleep? There`s no greater feeling than the feeling of self acceptance. Accepting who you are, what you look like, how much money you make, everything about who you are right at this very moment. That self acceptance/situational acceptance has to be extended to the things you don`t like about yourself or your life as well. It`s very important. You don`t have to like it, but you should accept it. That`s not to say that you`ll never change whatever it is you don`t like, just that you`re ok with it being there at this particular moment.
Why is such an easy concept so hard to pull off? Well, for alot of people it`s because they think that if they accept themselves for who they are, they`ll never change or get ahead. They unfavorably judge themselves hoping it`ll make them feel so bad about themselves that it`ll force change. Sometimes it works, but it`s usually short lived; and it backfires alot. A vicious cycle of misery and blame, hope to change, things don`t, rinse and repeat. Not my ideal for a great life.
Mandy Evans says it very well here: “When you begin to accept yourself the way you are right now, you begin a new life with new possibilities that did not exist before because you were so caught up in the struggle against reality that that was all you could do.” Courtesy of self creation dot com. Our lives are what we focus on. If we focus on problems and things we hate, our lives will be filled with ongoing problems and things we hate. On the other hand, if we accept things the way they are at the present moment, it frees our minds to search for other options because it`s not bogged down in misery and blame. Look at your current situation, accept it for what it is, and move on. If you live in a small house and want a bigger house, you don`t need to be miserable and hating on your current house; love it for the good things. Less cleaning, heating and cooling bills are lower, less taxes, the pro`s are there, look for them.
If you have a problem with acceptance there are a few things that can help you reach a level of satisfaction.
- Know your own beliefs. Do you believe that if you`re happy you`ll stop growing? False. No pain, no gain? False. Everyone has to pay his dues? False. There are certain ways we should be? False. If I don`t feel guilty I`ll do "bad" things? False. Get the idea? All of these are in the way of acceptance and need to be removed.
- Examine your self honesty. By this I don`t mean to topically evaluate yourself as being a "pretty honest person". I mean dig deep. Society has trained us to be somewhat deceitful. We`ve been trained that it`s ok to lie so someone isn`t uncomfortable, to avoid conflict, and so we don`t look bad. Those little white lies, or lies of omission are part of everyone`s daily lives. We don`t often voice how we really feel, and this is a form of dishonesty. Think about changing that. I`m not saying to go out and be rude and without finesse. Examine your honesty intentions. Will telling the lady at Wal-Mart that you don`t like the color of her hair really help anyone? Will telling your spouse that the shirt he/she is wearing out to dinner that night for the business meeting really doesn`t look professional enough make a difference? Be honest with intention. Your intention in the latter is to make your spouse look good at the meeting. Contrary, the intention of the first example is just hurtful and to be honest, strangers usually don`t give a hoot if you like their hair or not. You don`t have a relatonship with them so why should they care? A journal is a great way to increase your self honesty. Write down everything you think and feel about yourself. After you`ve done this for awhile, you begin to feel more comfortable with being honest and you can expand and begin to be totally honest in your relationships with other people. With finesse and class of course :)
- Know that you`re doing the best you can with what you`ve got at the moment. This is pretty self explanatory but alot of people will excuse it away for some reason. Everyone does do the best they can with what they`ve got, it`s just that some people are drowning in self-pity, denial, guilt, and all the other self destructive patterns, and these sidetrack one from choosing a possible "better" path.
- Are your value judgments too harsh? Why do you see certain things as "good" or "bad"? I try very hard not to label people and to not form judgment on people. My putting a label on someone/something usually doesn`t have any real value attached to it. If someone is dressed as what I may see as "sloppy" isn`t necessarily sloppy to another person. If I label them as "sloppy" my mind starts searching for other synonyms to go right along with sloppy, like lazy. Before you know it I`ve labeled a complete stranger, whom I know absolutely nothing about, as sloppy and lazy. What does this have to do with acceptance? Plenty. We not only do it to others, but we do it to ourselves as well. Check out this ride: "I`m fat." Judgement comes in and deems whether fat is "good" or "bad". We tell ourselves that fat is "bad". For most people if we judge something in ourselves as "bad", it`s not okay with us and we don`t want to accept it. But, we can accept that we are fat and at the same time make changes in our lifestyle to alter our appearance to what we want it to be. We don`t have to be haters to do it :) Dropping our value judgments can lead to positive things like loving ourselves more, and when we judge ourselves less we judge others less. Acceptance for things opens us up to create ourselves and the world around us; that`s empowering!
- Look at your guilt. Look at the circumstances that made you feel guilty and examine why you felt guilt. What did you hope the feeling of guilt would accomplish? Well, did it accomplish what you wanted it to? Usually once you analyze the situations you find that you can pretty much categorize them into groups. We use guilt to get ourselves to behave differently, to show others that we care, and we`ve been taught that "good people" are supposed to feel guilty. When sifting through memories ask yourself if the feeling of guilt actually made an impact on you to make a lasting change. Ask yourself if it was worth all the emotional upheaval. Realize that feeling guilty doesn`t really show you care. It`s just another culture based stereotype and an effort to control.
- What are our motivations? More often than not, fear and unhappiness are our motivators for change; or the thought of change. For whatever reason, our desires just aren`t enough. That`s sad because desire is much more powerful than fear when used as a motivator. We are trained to associate our unhappiness with change, and if we aren`t unhappy, then no change happens. I`ve said it before. False. You can be "happy" and have acceptance for your current situation and still provoke change. When we use desire for change, we want something, when we use unhappiness, the want turns to need. When we need something, we usually think we won`t be happy unless we have/get it. We need water and food or we`ll die. Do we need less fat on our body? Do we need those designer jeans? Usually the fear and anxiety that accompany our what should be wants and not needs, use up tons of emotional energy that could`ve been used as a tool to create the things/life we want. When we switch to desire for motivation, the difference between wanting and attachment (needing) comes into focus. Wanting keeps us moving forward, while needing keeps us cooped up in the pen of destruction and what I call living "on the gerbil wheel". Run, run, run, run......stop at the exact same place you started. Some of us will also use the intensity of our unhappiness as a thermometer t measure the importance of our desires. Just how unhappy does being overweight make me feel? Not real unhappy, so I guess I don`t need to change that (even though you know a healthier diet and more exercise is better for you overall). The more miserable we are when we don`t have what we want, the more we think we wanted it. Instead of unhappiness as our motivator, let`s switch to desire and wanting. Let`s focus on the imagination, creativity, inspiration, and anticipation that the desire brings us, and let that be our guide. We use unhappiness to motivate others. Think about it. What happens when our kids aren`t doing something at the speed in which we think they should? We get upset with them to try and motivate them to move faster. What do we do when our spouse isn`t doing something we want? We get mad at him/her to get them to do what we want? What happens when our dog doesn`t do what we say? We get mad at them to put fear into them to motivate them to listen. Examine your motives; it might shed some light onto some areas and will allow you to move forward.
- What are your beliefs? Sounds like a simple question huh? Well most people don`t know the answer. They don`t know what their beliefs are. Many of those beliefs were acquired, or taught during our childhood and we haven`t even examined them. It`s a good idea to examine them, because they effect our feelings, thoughts, and actions. Here are some of the common trains of thought people have: optimistic people aren`t realists, if I control my feelings I`ll be a robot, you can`t have your cake and eat it too, I have to have love, sex, or money to be happy....the list goes on and on. If you want acceptance and true peace in your life you may have to change some of your beliefs. Easy? Nope. It takes work, more work than just reading this page. Here`s where the action comes in. The work is in revealing the answers to some key questions you need to ask yourself; the questions are all about identifying and clarifying. A brilliant man by the name of Bruce Di Marisco developed the following technique. For example: 1.What are you unhappy about? What do you mean? 2.What is it about that certain something that makes you unhappy? What do you mean? The what do you mean is the clarifying part. 3. Why are you unhappy about that? What do you mean? 4. What are you afraid would happen, or what would it mean if you were not unhappy about that? 5. Why would it have to mean that?
The above technique, with its set of questions is called the "Option Method". It has proven to be a valuable tool in creating the acceptance we all benefit from having in our lives, as well as the other points listed.
A Power Greater Than Our Own
God and Faith
Did you know that scientists have labeled a gene "the faith gene"? There`s a part in your brain that lights up during an MRI when people pray or think about God. I think that activity is pretty cool.
Science has questioned prayer and faith based beliefs from the get-go. Out of all the studies done, the most quoted one was between the dates of August 1982 and May of `83. The study, which was held in the coronary care unit of San Francisco `s General Hospital, took 393 of their heart patients and put them in a double blind study. The study was focussed on assessing the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer. The patients were randomly selected by a computer as to which would receive intercessory prayer, and everyone was blind; including the doctors, nurses, patients, and the study`s conductor. The group that received the prayer had to have less CPR performed and needed less use of mechanical ventilators. Their necessity for diuretics and antibiotics decreased, didn`t have as much pulminary edema, and had fewer deaths.
Prayer has lowered blood pressure, prayer has been the tool used by people who are not fortunate enough to have health care, prayer lowers incidences of depression, prayer lessens the risk of alcohol abuse and drug addiction...the list goes on.
People that have a belief system that incorporates a 'Higher Power' have an easier time when "bad" events happen. Things like illnesses and deaths, loss of a job or a home, are all dealt with on a much easier playing field than people who don`t believe. The whole "Let Go and Let God" philosophy is great for freeing yourself and living life by "going with the flow". You don`t have to label Him, or follow any certain religion with a set list of rules, just accept that their may be a power greater than ourselves. Try to have the mindset that what happens will happen regardless of how you fight it or try and control it. This doesn`t mean that you act foolishly and not expect to have consequences for your behavior, it simply means that you know things will work out. Easier for some than for others. My realization came when I was married to an abusive alcoholic and even though he drank all our money away, I still had a roof over my head and food on my plate. Steak and lobster? More like beans and rice, but nonetheless, it was food.
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Live In The Moment
Many years ago I read a book called "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle that I fell in love with. In fact, I think I`ll pull it out and re-read it as I`m sure there`ll be more light shed in areas that are ready to be revealed as time has passed and I have grown. It`s all about awakening yourself and living in the present moment. So many of us live on auto-pilot. We multi-task on computers, cell phones, face to face conversation, family, work, and others I`m sure I forgot to mention. Alot of us have lost the ability to live each day for what it is, and not to project yesterday`s "bad" news or tomorrow`s fears onto the present day. We have forgotten how to smell the roses and to appreciate life for what it is; a joyous miracle. We have been given the gift of life and we sometimes act as if it`s a burden.
Living in the present moment teaches us to appreciate everything for what it is. Even pain. This is a cliche`, and I apologize because you`ve heard it before but, without pain we wouldn`t know pleasure. Yin is nothing without Yang. We need one to appreciate another. The principle is what keeps the balance. If we choose, we can learn something from almost every single instance in our lives. We need to change our perception in order to do this, but it`s a change that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
The Law of Attraction is a beautiful thing. It basically means, your thoughts become your life. What we dwell on manifests in our daily life, happy thoughts and not so happy thoughts. How does this apply in "It Is What It Is'? Well, if we show gratitude for everything in our lives, no matter how big or how small, over time our perception will change and we`ll have a sense of gratitude and greatfulness in everything that life has to offer. The universal law is what we focus on grows, so if we focus on abundance we will have abundance. If we focus on inner peace, it will be ours for the taking. If we focus on pain and suffering, guess what will be delivered unto you?
This includes your health. There is new research that proves that counting your blessings has a positive impact on your life. It has been shown that people who keep a gratitude journal are more optimistic about life and have fewer health ailments than people who don`t give thanks. So get out your laptops, or your pens n pencils folks and write down at least five things that you are grateful for today. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you for it.
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My Bottom Line
We all have crap that sucks the life outta us sometimes. Some of us experience more of it than others. I`ve lived two completely different scenarios in my forty seven years on this earth, and I`ve accepted both. I think the one that molded me the most towards "it is what it is" was my first marriage in which I was madly in love with a wonderful, sensitive,handsome, caring, humor-filled man.......who happened to be an abusive alcoholic. I spent seven years with him and he taught me much. He taught me that life happens, no matter what. I can either shrivel, miserably going against what is happening, or I can accept what is happening, be grateful for what I do have, and strive for something different. He taught me that ghosts in my closet do not go away; I must admit that they`re there and then deal with them. He taught me that no matter how much you love someone who is in pain, you cannot take that pain away, that path is theirs and theirs alone. He taught me to be grateful. Grateful for life and everything that comes with it. He taught me that "It Is What It Is" and acceptance is key, and for that I love him dearly.