First of all, I need to understand that acceptance can be broken up into sections. It needn’t be a toggle. So why do I keep thinking it only goes from 0 to 100? Well, because it’s easier to feel hopeless about all-or-nothing propositions.
I’m going to attempt a Month of Acceptance: According to page 449 in the old text, “acceptance is the answer to all my problems today… Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.”
But it can totally be taken on in chunks, and here’s a huge one for me: Giving others the benefit of the doubt. I’ve got to quit assuming I’ve figured everyone out based on their public conduct. Might sound easy, not giving them that head space, but I spend a whole lot of undocumented time not accepting complete strangers: in cars, in stores, in lines, in restaurants, in church, and at the movies. The locations may change but so what? My inventory-taking skills are adaptable. Whether you and your brood are socioeconomically destroying the world in concert with the toy aisle, or you simply don’t know how to wait your turn at the bank, you’re no match for this alcoholic’s anger displacement.
Know what that is? That’s me picking a fight with the world – that’s me only seeing things through my own needs. Look everybody! I’m extremely frustrated, and I am right to be so! Understand that I’m leaving this bank with my business undone because of what someone in front of me was or was not doing in a timely manner!
More to the point: I’m a full-grown adult man throwing a fit and dragging myself out of the store. Like I’m my own parent. Like I’m doing the responsible thing, giving myself a time-out. That’s some sweet, spiteful, messed-up thinking right there.
Today, however, I’ve discovered I can look at these situations honestly, and right-sized, and see them for what they aren’t: situations. It’s life happening: uninteresting, slow, beautiful, fascinating life. Completely unacceptable? Almost never.
Weekend assignment: Give Everyone the Benefit of the Doubt, and Assume the Most Likely.