We have already talked about how chosen change can be challenging, not yet about the changes that life throw at us: every day, people lose their job, break up, no longer have someone they love around them, go bankrupt. All those examples have the same consequence: the loss of a current situation. The problem is, as human beings, we tend to hold on things. In every aspect of our life and, sometimes, at all cost. One minute we are here venting about our boss, our colleagues, our pay, but if the HR of the company was telling us now that we are fired, we will probably start to enumerate a long list of reasons why we absolutely need to keep this job- ignoring a more nuanced reality.
In our will to hang on to the known and the comfortable, we don’t realize that we are trying to retain something or someone that is already gone. The situation that used to be will never be the same, that we accept it or not. As difficult as it sounds, there’s no level of anger or frustration that has ever changed a fact. The problem is, we often tend to see acceptance as a sort of resignation when it’s nothing but acknowledging a fact and look at it straight in the eyes. It doesn’t help with the pain, but this reality check allows us to move forward.
Otherwise, when we replace what we have lost by something new, hanging on to the previous situation creates a split in us: the old us who re-thinks all the reasons why it was so great before and end up magnifying the old situation, and the new us who tries to appreciate this new situation that is presented. Now I say “tries to” because the old us will force us to compare, to analyse, how much this new situation is so far out compared to the old one, how much we should drop it, to go on living in the fantasy of the initial one. Doing so, we don’t only create a recipe for delusion and bitterness, but we also prevent ourselves from doing the only thing that can make us happy: enjoying the present moment. Accepting every situation for what it is. It might not be perfect, but it is what it is, and most of all: it’s there for a reason.
Cause yes, every situation that we are experiencing is there for a reason. We may or may not discover why it is, but it always has a purpose: teach you something, freeing you to be available for something greater, delivering you from a situation you didn’t have the courage to finish yourself etc. Therefore, denying the message life is trying to send you will prevent you from a great opportunity of knowledge and growth.
A few years ago, an opportunity to become assistant of the manager arrived in my team. I applied to it, but it quickly became clear that the interview process was just a formality as they already had someone in mind for the job. When the expected colleague finally got the position and I got thanked with unclear feedback, I went venting for days to all the people around me about how much it was unfair and I deserved it more and they had made the wrong choice etc. Only to discover a few weeks later that another position opened in my company that was fitting me a thousand times better- and with better pay. This time, hiring me was a formality. The story ended well but reflecting on it, I thought of all this time and energy I had wasted for nothing– and I’m sure people around me could have done with less drama too.
Our obstinacy and denial of facing the evidence can cause nothing but anger and frustration, leading us to release energy and time to nowhere. In a society where tick boxes and perfection are sold as the norm, we need to accept that accepting our failures and surrender to them is the only way to move forward. It’s time we realize that any end is an opportunity for something new.