A Third Option - Fighting v. Settling Part III

The miracle of my lakefront view brought to me by radical acceptance

The miracle of my lakefront view brought to me by radical acceptance

Over the past two weeks we’ve explored how we approach most things in life as a boxing match between two opposites.  

In one corner:  Fighting/fixing it

In the opposite corner:  Settling/tolerating/putting-up-with it

These are the opposite sides of the same coin: Resistance to what is.

The problem is that more often than not, resistance keeps us in a repetitive cycle. Think about it. On one side, the war against ______ never seems to end. On the other side, putting up with ______ eventually leads to a breaking point.  (fill in the things we commonly fight and the things we commonly put up with)

On both sides, resistance will always fuel the struggle. It’s an external struggle when trying to fight it. It’s internal an internal struggle when we’re tolerating.

So what’s the way out?

Enter radical acceptance and gratitude.

Last week I invited you to ask, how can you thank the situation exactly as it is? Not just find gratitude in the things outside of your “issues” but rather find gratitude for the issues.

Did you come up with anything? I know it can be hard, especially the more you care about the situation. If you have cancer or if you’re constantly arguing with your mate, it’s hard to thank the situation for being as it is. Nonetheless, finding reasons to thank it is a powerful turning point.

Asking this question helps you start to find “silver-linings”, “lessons” and “blessings” brought to you by this situation. As this happens, you start to feel a softening in your heart and you may sense yourself beginning to open to a new sense of peace and possibility.

Radical acceptance is completely different from settling or tolerating.

Toleration implies you’re still unhappy. You’re holding on to the dislike. In radical acceptance you embrace. You thank. You welcome what is

How might this be a blessing in your life?

A while back, I shared with you how asking a similar question helped me find the home of my dreams. On Friday evening, August 17, 2012 a close friend backed out of our housing plans. Instead of signing a lease on August 18, I now had no home to move into for September 1st.

I was livid. I had 2 weeks to find a home as all of the students returned to Burlington.

I could have remained livid and gone into “fix it” mode. Which I did for a good half hour. I jumped online and started looking for apartments. All that was available were the dank, dirty, basement holes that nobody wanted. They were AWFUL and overpriced.

Then I asked the question: How is this a blessing? How is this the BEST thing that could be happening?

I released the resistance and the anger instantaneously. I opened myself to this being a blessing and closed my computer. I then went to my dad & stepmom’s neighbor’s happy hour. It was there that I found out that a neighbor was moving out and her lake-front condo would be available September 1st.  A quick visit and a phone call and in 24 hours I had a 2-BR lakefront home to move into exactly when I needed it AND get this, CHEAPER than what I would have paid for rent in any of the other options up to that point.

If I’d stayed in angry “fix it” or resentful victim mode, I would have missed living in this gorgeous condo for the past 4+ years.

When we move into radical acceptance, we begin to find the road back to being delighted by life.

What is the thing you’re trying to fix in your life?

Know that your internal resistance is the greatest force against you.

What is the thing you’re putting up with in your life?

Know that feeling powerless will fuel your resentment and victimization.

Try radical acceptance. THAT will put you on the road towards being more joyful, more satisfied and more at peace.

I’m not saying it’s always a snap. It can take work. But work undertaken with love and radical acceptance is completely different than fighting.


I help people in physical or spiritual pain who refuse to accept that this is as good as it gets, so they can be delighted by their lives.

Got a health issue that won’t budge?  

Are you repeating patterns from the past, or carrying a past hurt you want to let go of?