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Learn to embrace what is

Posted October 30

In my speaking assignments, I get to talk with many women at various stages of life. Two recurring comments I hear are “I didn’t think it would be like this at my age” and “I’m doing all I can but this situation/person/issue isn’t getting better.” Regardless of the specifics, as we acknowledge the difficult we can begin the healing. And as we release resentment we can refresh with a happier reality.

To more fully embrace what is and still move forward, consider these tips.

1. Acknowledge the emotion. Sometimes we want to jump ahead or try to skip out on present learning because it's annoying, painful or tedious. But if we can embrace what already is, we find the path to peace and purpose.

Verbalizing an emotion is a powerful method. Simply say, “I acknowledge that I feel...” sad, lonely, hurt, confused, frustrated, scared, bored, etc. As we put words to the emotion, we can then begin to embrace our story, and thereby ourselves and others who play parts within that story.

Author and speaker Brene Brown has said, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Whether it’s owning that menopause is frustrating or raising young children is incredibly hard, we can allow ourselves to name it. From there we can move forward with solutions or acceptance.

2. Let go of what's not working. If you're frustrated with someone (a child, spouse, co-worker) or a situation (stage of life, health issues, financial problem), identify the root. Is it something you can change or need to embrace? If the answer is change, don’t keep doing the same routines (eat the same, get up the same time, etc.). If it’s embrace, allow yourself to let down.

Release unrealistic expectations that do not work. A few years ago during the uber-busy years of raising mostly young children with a few teenagers, I learned a life lesson from one of my neighbors. As an empty nester she made the most delicious homemade 12-grain bread. With high expectations I asked for the recipe and was determined to make some too. After all, she had a Bosch, I had a Bosch; it should be a fit, right?

But it wasn’t. And each time I saw her, I would apologize and say, "Still trying to make that bread." Finally, one day she said to me, “Connie, it’s just not your season.” Bingo. I had been expecting myself to behave like an empty nester when my nest was utterly overflowing.

3. Do a life refresher. Even (and especially) amid hard situations, shake up your routines, your system, your vision, and allow yourself to envision something new.

To keep it simple, maybe it’s buying new dishes or pillows for a couch or painting a wall in your home. Maybe it’s taking a day off from life and or going for a short hike for needed peace. Shake up your routine, do something different, and you’ll feel refreshed and energized.

We can embrace the hard stuff as we acknowledge it for what it is, then move forward on what can be.

Connie Sokol is an author, presenter, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at connie@8basics.com.

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