“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.”
That statement was made by Tara Brach, in her book called Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.
So, what does that mean?
For myself, it means to accept yourself and your life exactly the way it is.
Let me try to explain this.
You might be saying, but my life sucks because of (Fill in the blank). How about, it’s unfair that so and so has (fill in the blank). Or maybe you are saying something like, I wish I had hair like a model or the smile of Angelina Jolie, but that won’t happen because my teeth are crooked!
Life is full of should and shouldn’t. From my example, you should have “X” because they have “Y,” I should have great hair because that is what makes you beautiful, and I shouldn’t smile because I have space between my teeth and that makes me ugly.
But, who made those rules? Was it some wise person in some far away land who said, “Everyone should have a fancy car, a big house, long flowing hair like Fabio, and a smile like Tom Cruz.”?
Sorry to break it to you, that’s not where it came from. There wasn’t a wise old mystic sitting on the hilltop, drinking tea, on a big fluffy pillow telling everyone how the world should be! It’s actually a learned mentality where people believe that bigger is better. More is better. It’s all about quantity over quality. This isn’t from a mystic, it’s from people learning from the media and everyday society. Do you remember the lesson Ricky Bobby learned in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby? “If you ain’t’ first, you’re last!” Great advice, right? No, wrong.
Sadly, that is precisely what a lot of people believe.
What does that do for a person? I tell you what. It causes suffering, jealousy, and greed, to name a few. All because people want more. All those feeling make a person feel pretty crappy, don’t they?
So, how about this? What if you said, I accept what I have, I agree the way I am, and stop comparing myself to others? Well, for one, you won’t care that you have that old rusty crappy car. After all, it still gets you from point A to point B! What if you accept that you are balding because that’s the genes that you were dealt in life. It’s not a big deal, less hair, equals less shampoo, right?
You see folks, why compare yourself to others when you are not the others. Say yes to the life you have. This acceptance will diminish the suffering you have, wipe out the jealousy you feel, and eliminate the greed of wanting more.
I know I’m writing like it’s an easy thing to accomplish, but I, for one, understand that it’s not. It takes practice and reminding yourself until it becomes automatic. If you want to read a helpful book on the subject, check out the book Radical Acceptance yourself! The people who want to accept it will learn a lot, the people who don’t want to change, well, they will do the usual and complain.