What It’s Really Like to Accept Something You Can’t Change

One of the hardest things to accept is being unable to change something or someone that you care about. Of course, we’re all supposed to love someone as he or she is– but, there are times when we want a partner to change an unhealthy habit, get help or do something for us or our relationship. But as much as you may want this change, your partner or love interest may not. This is heartbreaking.

Consider this:

  • The partner with a bad drug habit
  • The partner with an untreated mental health disease
  • The partner who won’t commit or move forward
  • The partner who wants a divorce when we don’t

Sometimes, there are situations we want to change, not people, but we cannot.

Like:

  • Working conditions
  • Our health
  • Financial matters

Try as you might with all your last bit of effort, you still may not get what you want.

Accepting things or people as they are can be very difficult.

What do you do if you find yourself dealing with something like this?

I have found that people tend to manage in the following ways:

1. Anger

  The first response is anger and frustration. Feeling limited and constrained. Angry at the lack of control.

This is a shorter stage for most of us because the next stage tends to linger …

2. Grief

The next stage is grief. Grieving what you cannot have and cannot change.

Grief can go on for a long time. This is the feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness that often comes in waves for quite a long time.

3. Acceptance

Some of us take a long time to get here. Once here, it’s like waving a white flag of defeat saying, you tried, you were mad, you were sad– and now you’re here in this place of somber acceptance.

To me, if you can get to this place– you are in good shape.

Some (hopefully most) people move on to the fourth stage,

4. Adaptation

This is when someone adapts his or her response to the situation, and takes a new path.

Maybe it’s leaving a partner with an addiction. Maybe it’s taking a new job or applying for a new role. Maybe it is dating again after being rejected by a partner.

It could take a long while to reach this place and for some it may not happen.

Without a doubt, accepting what you cannot change is so difficult but very necessary.

Peace & Love,

Laura

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