“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” Psalm 43 – The Message
While going through the grieving process after the death of my husband, I wrote in my journal, “Acceptance this morning is not a promise of a new beginning. It is a bitter pill added to the string of losses I have been asked to accept: my husband, my home, my source of income…. “
While editing my journals for my latest book, “From Winter to Spring”, I included that journal entry to describe how difficult it is to process our losses through acceptance.
Unwanted change takes something of importance away from us. Losses can seem like menacing giants that threaten to block any kind of positive future. As we work through the endless tangled thoughts and emotions, it seems as though we will never be free to enjoy life again.
In acceptance we acknowledge the depth of what our loss meant to us. We stay with the pain, confusion, anger, fear and unanswered questions and doubts until we can integrate them into our life story. Healing begins as acceptance becomes more complete.
When we have lost something of great importance, we want to hang onto what we had – we don’t want to let go of it. We get angry and lash out. We hang onto that anger, because we fear that if we let go of it there will be nothing to replace what we had.
But acceptance doesn’t mean we don’t have a future. It means I accept the circumstances I’m in. It means I stop fighting, resisting or denying what has happened.
Acceptance doesn’t mean we will never experience the joys of life again. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience happiness, laughter, contentment or satisfaction again.
Acceptance is where we take from the ashes of our tragedy, unwanted change, death, divorce, loss of job, etc and build something new. Grieving our loss and letting go does not diminish what we had.
The process of acceptance and letting go occurs gradually as we take one little step forward at a time. In the process we don’t stuff our anxieties and fears, ignore our hurt, or deny our angry feelings. We work with them and through them. As we accept and let go, our identity and life story can expand to a new page.
If you are working through a difficult change in your life today, ask yourself these questions:
1. What part of my loss can I accept right now?
2. What can I give up today that I had yesterday?
3. What am I hanging onto that continues to create pain?
4. What new options can I explore?
Take a moment and think about what you are being asked to leave behind, what you want to bring with you and what you can live without.
Tell yourself it is okay to let go of what you had. Tell yourself you can start over and create something good again. Visulize yourself in some of these new options.
©2013 Marlene Anderson