I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 25 Accepting What Is.
DIANA: Hey. Hey. What is happening, everybody? I’m doing amazing. And this week, what’s happening is the kids are going back to school. I got my middle, uh, son back to his campus at the UW School. He’s going to try to be a music major during a mask wearing pandemic, and he plays the clarinet, so that is something he’s going to figure out as he goes. I have a 17 year old who is taking five classes a day in person, and my eleven year old daughter is doing hybrid couple well, an hour and a half at school in the morning and the rest of the day is online. I feel like we’re all figuring it out. We don’t know exactly what’s going on every day, but that’s okay. It just happens. It just happens. So here we go. Fall is coming. And I saw last week that the Farmers Almanac, the powers that be of the Farmers Almanac, are predicting a cold and snowy winter. They say it’s not going to be like last winter. It’s going to be colder and snowier. I’m like, okay, I live in Wisconsin, and that’s what I’m going to get. So I’ll take it. Maybe all the kids are going to end up at home, too. Maybe they’re going to shut the schools down. The kids are all going to end up at home, and we’re going to be stuck inside because of cold and snow.
But I’m just going to love it. Whatever happens, I’m going to love it. In fact, that’s kind of what I’m talking about today. But before I get more into that, I like to read the itunes reviews that, uh, you guys leave me, because I tell you I will. So when you leave a review and you say what you like about it and you subscribe and you do the five star thing or four stars, if you’re not quite sure if you like me, then it helps other people find this. And that’s how we get the Renew Your Mind movement going. All right? So do your part, leave a review, and we’re going to help a lot of people this week. I’m going to read a review from L Annie 83. This review says, I find Diana so kind and relatable. She really wants to help people and give them the tools to stop sabotaging themselves. I continue to listen and learn from this series. I had some coaching sessions and she helped me work through some emotions that were not serving me. You owe it to yourself to check this out and meet her. Thank you. El, Annie. 83. That was really cool.
Now on, um, to today’s topic, accepting what is. And I’ve even had practice accepting what is as I’ve made this episode. Usually when I’m recording these, there’s topics that I’ve been coaching on a lot. Recently, I’ve been studying it or it’s corresponding with curriculum I’m creating for my program. So it’s something I’m into, and it makes recording it easier. But this week, it’s not working. Even though I’m talking about accepting what is, with so many of my clients right now, putting this together has been feeling clunky and a little challenging and not super fluid. But you know what? I decided that’s okay, this week podcasting seems harder than usual. I’m good with that. It’s fine. It’s not a problem. And sometimes we do an okay job accepting what is. Like, I am this week with podcasting, but I remember a time, too, with my husband. I’m like, we need to talk. This was several years back. And he’s like, okay, great. We need to talk. But by the time we sat down on the couch and I took a deep breath, he blurted out, you’re pregnant. And I said, yes. So to give a little context, I want you to know it. At this time, we already had three boys, ages five to nine, and we had decided with finality and certainty that we were done having kids.
Done. Done. Three, um, was how many kids we were going to have, and there would be no more. Turns out we were wrong, because there we were on the couch, unexcited. My yep was a, uh, resigned yep. Not an excited yep. And then you know what my husband said? He said, well, it is what it is. Shaylee. If you’re listening to this, you already know the story, and we love you like none other. God planned her for our family. I know that. But at that moment, the best we had is it is what it is. We were pregnant. So there it was. We were pregnant, and we accepted it. And sometimes we can do that in life. Sometimes we do that, and we don’t have internal fights against what’s happening in reality. But then there’s other times that we do. There’s other times that we’re convinced that the way things are is not the way things should be. We create a lot of discomfort for ourselves when we think that. I think also, a lot of times we think we’re accepting reality. We think we’re fine with the way life is, and we’re okay with it, and we’re accepting it. And we say things like, it’s fine, or we say, that’s just the way it goes. Or another one, we say a lot.
No problem. But a lot of the time, even when we say those things, we aren’t really having it. Maybe secretly or even subliminally. We’re wishing things were different. A great way to tell if you are actually okay with what is going on in any given moment is by checking in with your emotions. M think about that, because what emotions would you be feeling if you were genuinely okay with the way it is? I think you’d be feeling peace or content or satisfied. It’s kind of like content or maybe even joy. But then on the flip side, what emotions do you feel when you think everything is not okay? When you’re not okay with the way it is, what do you feel? I know there could be a lot, but I have a few. I thought of uneasy, frustrated, worried, sometimes even jealous or judgmental when it’s not fair or other people are doing it wrong. Right. But I love this direct comparison where we look at what would we feel if we accepted what was happening in comparison to what we feel when we’re not accepting what is happening. When I’m coaching and I’m offering to my clients that they can use their free will to decide that everything that’s happening is happening the way it’s supposed to be happening, and that when they do this, they’re going to feel more peace and more contentment.
Usually they’re like, really just decide it’s okay the way it is, just be okay with it. But I ask them back, well, what’s the alternative? Thinking it’s not okay. I’m like, do that, then you can do that. Just think it’s not okay. What do you feel when you do that, though? When you think it’s not okay the way it is? You feel uneasy, you feel worried, you feel frustrated. That’s the alternative. Just like some other things I teach, this is a pretty simple concept. You can think everything is just as it should be, you can accept it and you can feel better. But simple does not mean that it’s easy to just do it. I know that. And as good as I’ve gotten at doing this, I’ve worked at it for years. It takes time. I know it. And part of the reason it’s hard, I think, is because, well, unless you’re a sociopath us humans have morality. Many of us have faith. Most of the listeners of this podcast have a Christian faith. This gives us a way to view the world with values and morality.
We value relationship, we value health. We think it’s good to be honest and humble. It’s better not to steal. I could go on and on. Our religion and our faith gives us some morality and values. And God even goes so far as to tell us that some behaviors qualify as sin. So I imagine you might be asking if I’m telling you to be okay with whatever happens in spite of our morality. But I’m not asking you to question your morality. I’m suggesting that you not fight with reality. Let me just give you a simple example, I’m going to go with murder. Almost all humans have values that lead them to think that murder is wrong. We may also think that murder is bad, but then if someone we care about is murdered, then what? We can keep our morals intact and we can think that murder is wrong, but we don’t have to fight with the reality of it happening. We’re fighting with reality when we start to think that the murder should not have happened. If you lose someone to death, you are already going to be in the pain of grieving. You’re going to be feeling the pain of loss no matter what.
But when you add the thought that it should not have happened now you are adding frustration and probably anger and other things on top of the grief. Grief is going to happen. It’s the natural pain of losing someone you care about. It’s the natural pain of losing someone you love. But anger, anger is the self righteous pain of thinking it should have happened your way instead of the way that it actually happened. Listen, our human experience on this earth is going to have suffering. We know that. God tells us we’re going to suffer. God tells us we’re going to have trials of many kinds. They will come. But we do not need to heap a bunch of anger and judgment and worry and all those other negative emotions on top of it. We don’t have to do that. Several episodes ago, I know I mentioned Byron Katie before I read one of her books, the one that’s most often recommended it’s called Loving what is she’s? A modern non Christian thinker, though she’s spiritual. But this book has taught me a few key ideas that have helped me lean into being content regardless of what the circumstances in life are, along with taking more responsibility for the thoughts that I choose to think.
So let me just give you a couple quotes from Byron Katie from her book. The first one’s a little longer, so you’re going to have to get on your concentration cap and listen. And then the next one’s nice and short. But here’s the first one I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. Because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don’t feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind and fearless. And I think out of that, the thing that stands out most to me is when we argue with reality, we experience tension and frustration. It hurts to argue with reality and all it is is an argument that we’re having inside our heads, inside our brains, inside our minds, just arguing with what has already happened or already happening.
Here’s one more quote that summarizes this concept there’s only one thing harder than accepting what is, and that is not accepting it pretty simple. We don’t have to decide that what is happening in a moment should not be happening. We don’t have to think that. Instead, we can accept that it was always going to happen, that this is the way it’s supposed to happen. And I think this is where faith comes in, doesn’t it? If we believe that God is good, if we believe he’s in charge, if we believe he is lord over all of it, we have to ask ourselves, do we truly trust in God’s sovereignty? We have to decide if we actually believe that God works all things together for good. And if we do, if we believe he’s sovereign, if we believe he’s going to work it all together for good, then what business do we have arguing with what is m? What’s the point? We can have trust in God and that he knows what he’s doing. We can have faith that it gets worked together for good, all of it. And then there are the times when we’re not even thinking about what is, because what is, is. Present tense. And a lot of us are spending a considerable amount of time in what ifs, in planning, in worrying.
We’re spending our time in our brain in the future, spinning thoughts and going nuts, trying to stay in control of what may or may not happen. Or we’re disrupting hanging out in what is by spending all of our time in the past replaying what others did, what we said, what we should have said, what we didn’t say, what we wish would have happened. We’re in our heads arguing with the past and negotiating with the future and there’s very little time that we’re actually in the moment. And even then, we spend so much time wishing things were different. Some of our thoughts reveal in an obvious way. Okay, we think, um, life would be better without the coronavirus.
Many people think life would be better with racial justice and racial equality. Some people think it would be better if we had a different president. Others say my life would be better if I didn’t lose a job. My, uh, life would be better if I didn’t get married. Life would be better if I had more money, or everything would be fine if that person was nicer to me. Okay, those are kind of obvious. And I’m sure you can think of your own list of what would make your life better or what isn’t happening that would make it better if it was. And even if you can’t think of a list, I’m sure you’ve got one thing right. But even one thing if you’re ruminating on how you think things would be better if it was different, one thing is enough to breed dissatisfaction in your life. But then there’s the sneaky thoughts that we don’t even know are happening. I was coaching someone this morning and this came to my mind because she had a thought that seemed nice. And we uncovered how sneaky of a thought was going underneath it.
She thought it would be nice if her high school son would have a better relationship with his dad. She thought, I want them to have a good relationship. Sounds like a positive thought, right? I want them to have a good relationship. It sounds very nice. What’s the problem? The problem with that thought is that even though it seems nice, it means more than just thinking that a better relationship would be good. The problem is the sneaky thought that’s taking along in the shadows. Because if you think, I want them to have a good relationship, you’re usually also thinking, but they don’t. I want them to have a good relationship, but they don’t. They don’t have a good relationship, and that’s not okay. That is a sneaky thought underneath what seems good and helpful. And I asked her how it made her feel when she thought, I want them to have a good relationship, and she said it made her feel sad.
Remember, you can use your emotions to let you know if that thought is working for you or not. They’re a gauge. We have a lot of these sneaky thoughts. They might be something like, you can fill in the blank. It’ll be so great when I’ll be happy, when I just need them to do this. Life will be better if because we have lots of ideas of what we think would make our lives better or even make the, um, life better for the people we love. All the other people, their lives will be better. Because I’m an expert, um, on how their life should go so everything will be better and they can feel better. It’s like an undercurrent of breeding dissatisfaction and not being okay with what the reality is today. So I’ve asked women I work with, do you ever tell yourself everything is just fine as it is and I don’t need to change a thing? And they usually do answer, yes. Then they go on to describe a moment when they think everything is good. But I get that, right? It’s easy when you’re sitting by a lake and the kids are having a blast in the water and the sun is shining.
Everything’s the way you like it. There’s yummy sandwiches, yummy cookies. Kids are building sandcastles, laughter, fun. It’s a good day. And in that moment, we think, I’m accepting reality. Everything’s fine. But I’m not talking about that because we don’t have an issue with that. Well, I know there are some of you that have a hard time even allowing yourselves to be content when everything is good, but we’re going to talk about that a different time. Most people are going to find moments when they can be content like that and they can look around and evaluate that everything is good. But what about when it’s not? That’s when you get to practice accepting reality. That’s when you get to work on accepting that God is in control and he will work all things together for good, that’s when you get to stretch and grow and mature and settle into that maybe, just maybe, nothing’s gone wrong.
Even when it’s not the way you would have done it or it’s not what you would have picked. So are you willing to accept what is? Are you willing to accept reality for the sake of letting go of frustration, letting go of anxiety, letting go of hatred? I promise you, it feels good to let go of that stuff. It really does. Okay. I love being practical. I’m going to, uh, try to make this really practical here first. If you want to try this, you don’t need to rush out and try to accept everything and everybody. Baby steps, my friend. Okay, baby steps. Pick one thing that you want to try to accept and be like, well, the reality is my M kids are home doing virtual school. That’s the reality. I’m just going to work on deciding that one thing is okay.
Or if that’s too big, pick a small one. Another way you can approach this is to decide what you want to feel more of instead of what you want to feel less of. So I’m just going to give you a couple phrases that you can use to try to create a better emotion on purpose. When you’re thinking about accepting what is, if you want to feel more gratitude, you can think a thought like, I appreciate what I have. You can even make a gratitude list. If you want to feel more abundance, you can have a thought like, I have everything I need in this moment. If you want to feel more content, try everything is okay right now. And if you want to feel more acceptance, try the thought, maybe everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to. It’s possible. All, uh, right, y’all, that’s it for today. I’ll catch you next week. Take care.
As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. Uh, I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast M.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.