- Clive Vanderwagen
Six ways to freedom when life feels crazy
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Life is hard work.
Accepting what has happened to us is hard. Accepting ourselves for who we are is hard. And most of all learning to let go of our dreams can be painful. But there's freedom in it too. Sometimes like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the more tightly you hold onto your past the more pain you'll suffer when life inevitably throws you curveballs and things happen that are completely out of your control. Choosing to accept these things as they come means you'll find yourself freer than before.
This article is a psychological toolkit to step into the power of accepting life as it is and not wishing for how it could be. Acceptance is a powerful gift we can give to ourselves with no strings attached. And then we can choose what actions to take based on our wants rather than our fears.
Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving , we get stronger and more resilient. – Steve Maraboli
The six ways to freedom
Here are well-tested techniques that can help you give up resistance to change, accept your past, love yourself as you are now and find freedom from anything that's holding you back in your life. Sometimes we get stuck in a place, wishing we had more than what we have and dreaming that life could be different. There's nothing wrong with wanting to move forward, but as long as we're not resentful for where we are in life right now. Freedom comes from acceptance. Accepting that life is what it is, no matter what's been thrown at us.
1. Accept reality
Accept your reality at face value. Accept where you are right now in terms of material wealth, your health, your relationships and your mental state. Look at it without judgement and merely acknowledge the place you find yourself, without thinking of how it should be or could be.
2. Acceptance is not the same as resignation
Accepting something isn't to say you like it or think it's okay, but accepting that it is what it is right now without wishing it were different means there's no need for resistance and suffering. Building inner resistance only holds us back from the possibility of happiness down the line.
Acceptance can feel impossible when we're in the grips of overwhelming emotion such as anger or sadness. Acceptance isn't about trying to stop your emotions from coming up so much as detaching enough so they don't consume your every waking thought. You need to allow yourself to feel the emotions but choose not to stay there. This may take time, so accept this, but resolve to get to a place of acceptance of what is rather than fighting it. Acceptance doesn't mean you like it. Accepting reality means you're okay with it. Acceptance means letting go of resistance and realising that your happiness, love and peace is not dependent on the way things are.
3. Accept it can be different
Accept that there can be changes to your situation or environment, but accept that this might take time. Acceptance doesn't mean you like it. Acceptance means letting go of resistance and realising that your happiness, love and peace is not dependent on the way things are. Don't focus too much on how or when those changes will come about either because trying to control every little aspect as if you had a say in everything will only make you unhappy with where you are now.
4. Let go of the little things
Acceptance of your reality means letting go of the little things and accepting that they'll happen when they're meant to. Accepting means taking power over the situation by no longer fighting against what is and turning your focus to making changes in terms of what you can control, such as how you feel about it or if you feel motivated to take action for change thereby creating a win-win situation where your happiness does not rely on uncontrollable factors outside of yourself.
5. Accept change
Accept that life is always changing, everything changes at all times even if we think it doesn't. Accepting change means you're able to move on and focus your energy on the new, rather than struggling against what already is and what has been. Acceptance of change can make all the difference between getting stuck in rut or moving forward in life toward what you want. Accepting that things will always be in flux gives us permission to let go of our attachment to how we think it should be, which is exhausting and ultimately futile because once we give up fighting how it is, we give up the opportunity to experience change, growth and transformation.
6. Accept yourself
Accept that you are where you are because that's how it's meant to be for now. Accept yourself with gratitude for your presence in the world. Accept that your whole existence is meant to be whether you think it should or not, because thinking it shouldn't be, yet knowing deep down that this is how life is right now, can be a very painful place to exist.
Acceptance of yourself means you're accepting the person you are today for who you are without judgement or resistance to change. Accepting yourself might mean acknowledging that there are things that need changing within yourself but understanding that accepting where you are in terms of these factors will allow you to move forward rather than trapping yourself in a cycle of self-loathing and depression by trying to live up to an idealised version of 'yourself.'
The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself as accepted in spite of being unacceptable. – Paul Tillich
Acceptance allows you to acknowledge your weaknesses and move on. Accepting yourself means you're no longer giving power away to the idea that there's something wrong with you. Acceptance of self can be like a reset button for your psyche after coping with difficult situations in life, allowing us to start over with greater peace of mind. Acceptance of reality will get you there faster. Accept it, let go and move forward from there.
Acceptance brings a balanced state where you are open to whatever comes and whatever is. Acceptance means you can see change as a positive, exciting part of life rather than something to fear and worry about because you're attached to how it should be instead.
Acceptance allows you to let go, even if things are not the way you would like them to be, which in turn will allow your path toward fredom to unfold naturally. Accepting your reality stops you from wasting time thinking about what could have been or 'what now' when there's nothing you can do about it anyway because it has already passed.
Acceptance means freedom. Freedom of wishing for what it could be, and allowing yourself to live in the present.