Mental Health

Accept What You Can’t Change

Accept and move on.

These are two things that seem so simple and are easy to say, but yet so hard to do.

This is something I’ve had to do over and over again in my life. I’m sure the same goes for most people.

I recently realized that I have feelings for someone that lives about 2,000 miles away from me. We do have a bit of a history, but we always were just friends. He moved away three months ago for a job and we stayed in touch – until I just realized I like him three weeks ago.

I told him then I stopped talking to him because I figured we both needed space.

I think he likes it there and I’m happy for him, even if it means never seeing him. And I’ve accepted that I probably won’t. defines acceptance as something that “occurs when a situation or scenario is acknowledged and accepted by an individual. It is typically used in reference to the acknowledgement and assent to a negative situation.”

To me, the opposite of acceptance (especially in situations like this) is waiting around for something to happen and engaging in wishful thinking. To me, it is rational thinking, as compared to negative thinking.

I regret a couple things about this too. It’s in the past though, which means I literally can not change it. So, I’m not going to focus on those. I have to accept that things happened the way they did and let it go.

By accepting those things, I have the power to choose what to do now.

I know you’re thinking “that’s great but it’s not easy.”

You’re right. It isn’t. It takes time and effort. We can’t rush it; we have to go at our own pace.

Once you finally accept something, it can make us feel free.

I believe that acceptance is the key to being okay.

I’m not going to say it’s the key to happiness because it’s not. Whatever your situation is, it still sucks. There will still be moments where you’re going to feel sad.

So, what are some tips to acceptance?

An article on Thought Catalog, titled How To Accept What You Can’t Change, lists the following:

  1. Start with moving toward accepting who you are.
  2. Don’t rely on ineffective coping mechanisms, find healthy outlets for yourself.
  3. Make lists, write things out, consider the possibilities. For the sake of acceptance, write down why you can’t change it or the reasons why you may be happy this happened in the future.
  4. Don’t try to change everything at once.
  5. Find your happy place.
  6. Find other thoughts to fill your head. You won’t just stop thinking about what hurts unless you find other things to think about.
  7. Let the feelings wave through you and pass. Breathe through them. Don’t resist them, just let them go.

And one of my own is: Don’t try to get rid of or accept your feelings. If you do this, you’re only postponing your progress. You just have to accept how you’re feeling until it goes away.

If it is too much for you to handle alone, you could try counselling. There is a whole therapy technique dedicated to acceptance called Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). Click here to read more about it.

I’ve accepted this current situation, with the help of my best friend. We had a talk about it and she really helped talk some sense into me. She taught me like, half the stuff on here. You could talk to your friends too. It really helps. Even if they’re not sure what to say, it can still help to sort your thoughts out.

Even though I’ve accepted it, it still sucks and there are occasionally days where I miss him. But I’m not looking back. Or sitting around waiting for him to show up at my doorstep when I know that’s not going to happen.

And you shouldn’t either.

Jessica Victoria
<p>Jessica Victoria, 24, is a writer and advocate for mental health, disability and LGBTQ+. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to help and educate others.</p>

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