Guest blog by Debbie Gisonni
Author of Vita's Will: Real Life Lessons about Life, Death & Moving On
It’s so easy to accept the good stuff when it happens to us. We savor those fortunate moments, like a piece of Godiva chocolate slowing melting in our mouths. But when we’re faced with bad news or unpleasant feelings, we fight, ignore or deny them like the plague. We dig in our heels and think,
“Not in my lifetime is this going to happen!”
There is a generation of people who experienced more than the usual death and loss, while they struggled through WWII and the great depression. Having gone through so much pain, they seem to be more accepting of what happens in their life. My parents were part of that generation. After my mother became disabled, she would often say, “I never imagined I'd be living like this.” Then in the same breath, she'd follow with, “I guess it’s God’s will.” Whether it was God’s will or not, the acceptance of her uncontrollable misfortune helped her stay sane through ten consecutive years of chronic illness, disability and near death experiences.
Now, I'm not suggesting you roll over and play dead when life deals you a bad set of cards. You should always attempt to change and improve whatever you can. But sometimes, a tornado sweeps into your life without cause or warning. While you can't prevent it, you can certainly live through it. That means acknowledging it and adjusting your life to accommodate and embrace it--without anger or guilt. Major setbacks are often lessons that help you change your life for the better.
Death is one of the most difficult events in life for us to accept. Often family members choose to deny a terminal diagnosis or worse, assume they’re doing the dying person a favor by not telling him. Then the person dies without the opportunity to say good-bye, make amends or get his affairs in order. Afterwards, the remaining friends and family are left with an even larger burden --sorting out the mess and all their emotions of denial. They may never accept their loved one’s death, which can cause a domino effect of emotions from anger to hate to depression. On the other hand, had they accepted the impending death, they might have been able to make that person’s last days more joyful and their own less frustrating.
By accepting the events in your life, you accept life itself. You become more tolerable of others and more content with your personal situation, whatever it may be at the time. You realize that every event in your life--trivial or life changing, fortuitous or tragic, eventually comes to an end.
Life will always be a series of ups and downs. For some of you, it’s a roller coaster ride. For others, it’s just a few bumps on a rather flat road. Either way, you'll be happier if you hold on, pay attention and embrace every bit of the ride.
Five ways to choose acceptance in your life:
1) Say and believe each morning that you are open to whatever the day brings.
2) Consider death a natural part of life--talk about it, work through it.
3) Remember that unhappy events and emotions are temporary--don't deny them, they'll come back to haunt you.
4) Embrace misfortune; it will make the good times feel that much better.
5) Don't worry or blame yourself for things out of your control--go with the flow.