“I hate this.” “This is totally unacceptable.” “This has to change.” “I can’t stand this.”

I hear these statements all the time in a variety of contexts and from a range of people. At times I hear them from my own mouth. They are rooted in a fundamental  rejection of life. Life as it is, is deemed unacceptable. I need this situation to be different. I cannot tolerate this person as they are. Something must change.

Certainly there are circumstances in life that are painful. There are things that are wrong, unjust, harmful, and tragic. But simply sitting back and pronouncing “This is wrong and I do not accept it,” changes nothing.

I have little control over most of the circumstances of life. My judgments and rejection of things as they are may seem to hold out the possibility that I can change this situation. But, when I am honest, I know that little meaningful change is possible until something changes inside me.

The end of judgment and rejection is the beginning of the possibility for change. When I am able to say, “This is my life just as it is, right here, right now,” I start to open to a power that exists that is deeper than the circumstances in which my rejection of reality has kept me trapped. There is a wisdom in every life situation to which I am deaf until I open to the reality of that situation as it is.

Until I am willing to see the realities of life in all their difficulty and discomfort, I will never move beyond things as they are. The refusal to accept life as it is, keeps me powerless.  My resistance to what is does not empower me to find my way into a new reality. My judgment of situations as “bad,” or unacceptable does not help me see more clearly what might be a life-giving way forward.

Rejection of life as it is makes it impossible for me to see clearly. I miss the options that are available to me within my circumstances as they are. I see fewer options and the life-giving choices that could become evident remain hidden by my failure to see my situation as it is.

Acceptance, however, does not mean passivity. Acceptance means a shift of perception. It means I am no longer controlled by the circumstances of my life. Acceptance makes it possible for me to find freedom and to be empowered to act from that free place.

Acceptance enables me to see my situation more clearly and identify a small choice I can make here and now to soften and open to love and life. There is no situation in which I some more life-giving choice is not available if I am able to see clearly. It is always possible, to open a little more deeply and move towards greater wholeness. Seeing more deeply makes it possible for me to perceive a wider range of options.

Whatever is happening in my life, is simply what is happening. My desire to control it, change it, or push it away keeps me paralyzed, angry, and bitter. Rejection of what is always leads to resentment, dissatisfaction, and disappointment.

When I open to my life circumstances as they are and accept the reality of the world in which I live, I begin to soften. In the place of bitterness trust begins to grow. I start to experience that there is a force within me that can guide me, give me strength, and bring me to a place of greater peace no matter what may be going on the surface of my life.