Stop Struggling and Suddenly Everything Clicks

acceptance buddhism college grad growing up

A strange thing happened recently. My life went from being hectic, disorganized, and frustrating to suddenly clear and productive. This happened without any warning, and without any real discernible change in my circumstances. In the same way that you feel a lot lighter and calmer when you realize you've been restricting your breathing and start taking deep breaths, something in my mindset that was cramped and tight simply relaxed.

This has had a number of interesting effects:

Learning Acceptance

I think the biggest thing that changed was a willingness to accept. The concept of acceptance comes up a lot in Buddhism as a necessary factor in spiritual development. Looking back, there were a lot of things I wasn't accepting: my shin splints and the implication that I wasn't a good enough athlete, my financial situation, my level of experience in life, the difficulties and deprivation associated with my chosen diet. Failure to accept all these things led to an attempt to control them, when in fact they cannot really be controlled.

As a post-college grad (not sure when I have to stop calling myself that), I realize there are a lot of things we can't control, and a lot we want and expect to achieve. Many of us are in worse financial shape than we were in college, with less mobility and opportunity for exploration simply because we are no longer in the college system. At a time when we are supposed to be taking life by the horns, we find ourselves suddenly cut off from all the resources that had opened our eyes in the last few years. It's a bit jarring, but very necessary.

I have learned that accepting the reality of your situation is the first and most important step in being successful. It is necessary to be happy in that situation, and it is also necessary to change that situation, if that is what you want. In order to grow, you have to start somewhere, and accepting and inhabiting that starting point is just as important as planning out your growth and dreams.

What things in your life do you need to accept in order to move past them?

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Image source: Jay from Norway on Flickr