The other evening I was listening to an old album by Cat Stevens, and I’ve always loved the song ‘Moon Shadow’ (If you don’t know it, look it up – and listen to the lyrics as well as the beautiful melody). As I heard it again, it resonated even more with me than before, because it is about accepting things as they are, rather than fighting against your circumstances, and it was certainly a useful reminder for me!
At present I can’t be in my own home because it needs some big repair work after the fire I had, and I also recently tripped and cracked a rib which is very painful. So I’ve been feeling quite sorry for myself and railing against my bad luck. And what has that done for me? Just made me feel worse!
Wishing things were different never made it so, and in fact just emphasises whatever it is that we don’t want in our lives. On the other hand, accepting things as they are frees up our energy to look for ways of making it feel better.
It isn’t a passive giving in to the circumstances – that ‘poor me’ syndrome is caused by the contrast between how you’d like things to be and how they are. It is a simple ‘Well, this is how it is’, which leaves us room to actively begin to make the best of it, and space to begin to think about how we can adapt to make it work.
Once we say yes to how things are, we can start to be creative again, and help ourselves to improve the circumstances. I may have particular things to rail against at the moment, but this too will pass. And all of us have been suffering the restrictions due to the virus at a minimum, without anything extra to wish away.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever moan abut our circumstances and wish it were different – that would be denying our own feelings – but let’s keep it to a minimum, not in order to be ‘positive’ or a good person, but to keep our energy for something more useful.
After all, I may not be able to be as accepting as the song suggest, but a cracked rib means that I can’t do the hoovering, and I can choose new colours for the rooms in my house because they will be redecorating for me.