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Specific Steps We Can Take Toward Accepting and Moving On

Handling negative emotions


In a recent post, I talked about the importance of being able to resign ourselves to certain truths in our lives if we want to move forward. To put this another way, sometimes our ideas about how things “should be” holds us back, and accepting the world as it really┬áis can free us of those ideas. Here are some specific areas where acceptance can help lighten the load. Probably none of these will be new to you, but learning to accept them better is the kind of thing that can benefit any of us.

There will always be a certain amount of suffering in the world, and some of it will come to each of us–but we can help alleviate the suffering of others and can work toward being able to take it in stride when suffering comes directly to us.

The world outside us won’t always be the way we want it to be: people will drive dangerously, decisions will be made that we don’t think are best, and sometimes people will be treated unfairly or unkindly. However, we ourselves can strive to do things as much as possible the way we would want others to do them.

There are limitations to how much we can change or fix in our lives at one time, and there’s no single, magic solution to all problems.

Striving to do something difficult will usually mean some failures along the way. Failing is a normal part of the process of reaching a goal. Major life changes rarely can be accomplished overnight and without a few setbacks.

In order to get to what’s really important in our lives, sometimes we have to let go of things that are less important, for instance plans we might have had or desires we meant to fulfill. Letting go of unimportant things pays off handsomely in giving us resources and attention to focus on the important ones.

A technique called “cognitive restructuring” or “idea repair” can aid constructive thinking in these areas. You can find more information about this process in my posts on broken ideas.

Photo of Brisbane traffic by neoporcupine



  1. Bakari  •  Aug 8, 2009 @1:45 pm

    You’re right. William James, discussed over a 100 years ago in his book, “Principles of Psychology,” that many people become depressed because they are chasing very unrealistic outcomes (eternal youth for example).

    Interesting site. I will be back…

  2. Luc  •  Aug 8, 2009 @1:51 pm

    Thanks for stopping by and for commenting, Bakari.

    You know, I admire what I know of William James’ work (I’m usually just amazed that he figured so much out with so little help), but I haven’t read much of what he’s written; I think I’d better see what they have of his next time I visit the library.

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