Life Gets Easier When We Accept Things Exactly as They Are
Let me give you two stories (and resolutions) from my counseling work:
I believe that the Serenity Prayer is useful when we consider trying to change others, especially our elders! And, when it's about another person's behaviors, until they're wanting to make changes for themselves the only tools that we have are to accept what is; and, if desired, create boundaries about when, how, and where we spend time with them.
To help them accept the time with his mother exactly like it was, we created a BINGO card, with 5 squares (one square per insult), to capture all of her personal jabs which they knew would happen! If they reached 3 - they'd stop for ice cream on the way home; if 4 - they'd stop for take-out on the way home, and, if 5 - they'd go for a nice sit-down meal on the way home. What was suffering shifted to a covert way to have wonderful partner time after each and every visit.
Rather than expecting the impossible, it was more helpful to see and expect the usual. To help this dyad "get real" we created a betting sheet: Who would be the first person to make a rude comment? Who would be the first person to get angry and go slamming out the door? And so on. So they went into the get together being realistic, and with a sense of fun to see how all of the pieces played out. They came back to their next session full of giggles; and, stories about whose guesses were closer to the truth.
Your Next Best Steps
- "Get real" about your circumstances, and accept them exactly like they are - lose the "should."
- Recognize that you can't change others, but you can change how you think about the circumstances. Consider using BINGO cards or BETTING sheets to capture the truth of a relationship or situation.
- Use boundaries of time and space and location with the difficult people in your life. Consider letting others know what you'll do (rather than trying to make them do) if they're behaving poorly. For instance, you can give someone the heads up that you'll talk with them on the phone, but if they start yelling or name calling that you'll hang up.
Photo - Creative Commons (Lisa Yarost "Feeling Lucky, Punk")