ANXIETIES bear down in myriad ways, in a multiplicity of situations, for many reasons. Inputs to the anxieties that inhabit us are the things we struggle to accept and cannot change.
We cannot change the following. We grow in wisdom as we learn to accept them:
1. People, their perceptions and responses – we cannot change or control people even though we’re tempted to influence, and worse manipulate, them. We certainly suffer anxiety when people try to manipulate us! Each of us owns the dominion of our choice. It is a thing to be respected and kept sacrosanct.
2. Some health outcomes – besides lifestyle factors, there are some health outcomes that force our hand in life. These can make life seem so unfair. Some of those health outcomes will impact others’ lives who we love, which introduces us to the next thing we cannot change or control.
3. Losses that come – nothing prepares us for loss, even if we have some warning, because we have no way of gauging how a loss will affect us until it becomes reality. Losses are most often more difficult to bear than we previously imagined. This surprise factor adds to our pain. We cannot control the losses that come, and are simply most blessed to work toward accepting them, but that itself is a long process. Learning to accept loss, albeit painful, is an investment in our maturity. And, besides, the other option — to not accept our losses — is unpalatable.
4. Changing nature of fortunes – besides the good or bad decisions we make which influence our fortunes, there is a flow to life than none of us can predict. Reminding ourselves of the things we are grateful for helps us accept the unpredictability of life. Small blessings counted prove the point.
5. The nature of life – we can know what we know by experience, knowledge or belief. Yet there are many things about life we cannot and will not know. Even by experience, knowledge and belief there are exceptions, and many of them. If we can see that this fact makes life interesting, we’re on the road to accepting life is fickle and hard and confounding. Acceptance brings contentment.
Anxiety comes when we struggle to resolve the things we cannot control. It can be helped if we identify the sources of our concerns and agree with ourselves that it is okay that we cannot control them.