There are three practices that go a long way to aiding in mental health and help in keeping our shared illness at bay. These three practices are the practice of acceptance, the practice of gratitude and the practice of forgiveness.
They are called practices for a reason. Acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude are things that need to be practiced on a regular basis like a soldier drills the use and function of his weapons into his subconscious. Practice and training in acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness make them available when they are needed most, in times of crisis.
Acceptance is the ability to see and understand things as they really are, not as we want them to be. To achieve peace of mind and any serenity in our lives this is an essential practice. We need to realize that every person, place, thing and situation that is causing us grief, making our lives miserable, actually are as they are supposed to be. It is us that is out of step with reality.
As an example, dealing with some things that spring from our past actions, or inactions, can cause us to begin the “why me” serenade that leads onto that incredible downward spiral. My response to “why me” has become “because on close examination you caused it.”
The practice of acceptance has removed one of the greatest hindrances to mental wellness for me, that hindrance is finding excuses. I had an excuse for everything.
When I accept things exactly as they are I no longer need an excuse to justify my non-acceptance. I can just move on.
A while ago the Tax man garnisheed my wages due to outstanding taxes for unreported income. The income was unreported because I had never received the income but it took quite a while to convince the Tax man of that fact. I found it hard to accept that I was losing a substantial amount of income to pay taxes on something I did not get in the first place. However the response to the “why me?” question has of course proven that I was the cause of this issue. I failed to notify someone that I had not received the funds that they owed me. It took months to sort the problem out and could have been the cause of a deep depression. By practicing acceptance of the situation I was able to avoid a deep depression and keep moving forward.
I am not going to say that I instantly accepted this situation because that would be a lie. It took a while to fully accept that I had to keep paying this money even if I didn’t owe it. I had to accept that in time it would all work out in my favor and of course it did in time. But if I had not practiced real acceptance I could have lost more than a little money for a while. I could have lost me.
That is really what the practice of acceptance does for you, it allows you to keep moving forward, rather than being glued to the couch in a depression and at risk of losing yourself again.
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.