I recently finished reading (twice) "The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World" which chronicles a week of conversations between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. These two spiritual leaders discussed joy based on the similarities and differences in their spiritual traditions and lifetimes facing hardship. In the book, they introduce 8 Pillars of Joy. Acceptance is one of these pillars and one that I have had to really put into practice lately. So let's talk about acceptance. Here are some of my favorite quotes that encapsulate acceptance:
"Don’t argue with what was or is. Don’t argue with reality. Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? What is the use of being unhappy if it cannot be remedied?"
"We cannot succeed by denying what exists,” but instead, “the acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin."
"Acceptance allows us to engage with life on its own terms rather than rail against the fact that life is as we should wish."
We learn from these men that acceptance is the key to change and success.
But we also have within us a brain that defaults to negativity, so truly accepting requires practice and intention.
Joy is our natural state, the challenge is to return to it.
We can get closer to this natural state by accepting what is.
In other words, part of living a joyful life is to stay grounded in reality or to accept the world around oneself.
These two men exemplify this act of accepting what is and finding joy in that reality. The Dalai Lama was exiled from his own country and he didn't let that stop him from inspiring millions of people. Imagine if he had instead focused on what he had lost and the cruelty of it all. We may not have the man we have today.
In our current world, we have been asked to accept a lot of things we may not agree with, but arguing with that reality only really hurts us. And certainly won't help us on our journey to return to joy.
My challenge to you this week is to find ONE area in your life that you can accept. One area that you are currently wishing away. See if it helps you feel any differently.