When I was a young child, I wanted to be Superman. I had a towel for a cape, cowboy boots, and a wild imagination. I thought if I had the ability to fly, have X-Ray vision, and be made of steel, all of my 5 year old problems would be solved.
Having no limitations, for the most part, sounds appealing to all of us. Hollywood knows this. That’s why the last Thor movie earned hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide. The Marvel universe is something we can’t get enough of. However, back here in reality, I’ve found life to be very different.
In the real world, fighting against and denying my limitations only made them bigger. In contrast, accepting my limitations has actually made them non-issues. For instance, in 2016 I ran the NYC full marathon. Since I’m blind, I ran with a sighted guide, Frank Downey. We utilized the tether system. This is when both the sighted and the blind runners hold the ends of string configured with loops. I would hold one end and Frank would hold the other. Along the way Frank would give verbal cues in addition to guiding me with the shared tether. If I would have denied needing help, I never would have accomplished that goal of running a marathon.
Likewise, by accepting my lack of sight, I am empowered to use accessibility and mobility tools to help me accomplish day-to-day tasks that I would otherwise miss out on. When I need to read a document, I use braille or a screen reader on my computing devices. When I need to navigate physical spaces in order to get where I want to go, I use a white cane. I’m more capable and independent thanks to my acceptance of natural limitations and subsequent motivation to work through and around them.
While coaching clients, I’ve found acceptance can change everything. When someone starts to see life through a lens of what is, instead of what they want it to be, they’re able to then take action in a more sober way and move forward. In keeping with the metaphor, in my experience, acceptance is like X-Ray vision; resistance is like kryptonite.
The dissonance comes when I want a person or a situation to change. However, when I accept that person or situation for the way they are, I find resonants. Resonants doesn’t mean only positive emotions though. It’s seeing the 50/50 perspective at all angles. When we see not only good, but the bad as well, we’re able to assess and decide what to do next.
When you accept your job for what it is, you might decide that it’s not so bad after all. You might also decide to start making plans to get the heck out of there and move on. Either way, you’re seeing it clearly and doing what’s best for yourself.
I leave you with an inquiry. How can you use acceptance to move forward?