Dealing with reality: Release what could have been and accept what is!

acceptance-testingOur lives are constantly changing. There are moments we wish we could fast forward through and there are moments we wish we could put on pause. Unfortunately, neither of those are actually possible so we are stuck moving at the same pace we always have and always will be. However, what happens so often is that we resist life’s natural pace.

I remember when I first got applied to grad school two years before I actually got accepted, I didn’t get any interviews or offers. I was supremely disappointed, but I told myself that opportunities lie in every direction. It may have been a lie at the time. It may have been something I was telling myself to not let it bother me, but I held on to that line. Needless to say, it got me through. I took a couple days to mourn the loss of what could have been. I let myself grieve the idea of what I thought would happen.

Within a few days though I was able to recalibrate myself. For some people it takes a little longer and for some people it’s shorter. I wouldn’t say I was 100% ok with what had happened, but I continued to repeat to myself that “opportunities lie in every direction.” I told myself that “you never know what could happen in this next year.” Maybe I’ll look back on my life and think wow what a great year that was. Maybe I’ll meet some great people, hang out with friends and family more, change my career path, be more dedicated to my career, there were a million possibilities. Perhaps I made them up, but perhaps they were adaptive realities.

For me, I ended up becoming more dedicated to psychology, worked for two years at the Veterans Affairs hospital, got great experience, re-applied and had the complete opposite experience as the time before. The key though is that I took action in the direction I still wanted to go. I got advice from those ahead of me and found out more of what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to be. And in the end, it worked out. I went from not getting a single interview to getting 10 interviews and 6 offers. I don’t say that to brag, but I say that to open up the possibility in your life for you to realize that what you thought was holding you back may be preparing you for something better down the line. I was able to get into my top choice, live in the city I wanted to, and stay close to all my family and friends.

The key is that I gave myself the time to let the idea of what I hoped for go. So often we get caught up in something and end up yearning for “that thing” to an unhealthy degree. This may not even be a something, but a someone. We can get caught up in the idea of someone and who we want them to be rather than who they are. As we begin the process of letting that image go, we embrace and accept what is. You must give yourself time to do this! It’s easy to jump from one thing to the next and not take the time to acknowledge that what you thought was going to be a prominent life path may not be the case (at least for now). It’s ok. It’s natural. And you will get through it. Once you accept this new reality, you can begin to move forward. Put yourself on a new path and seek out new opportunities.

So what are you ready to see differently? Is there anything you can accept today? How can you change the story in your head?

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Rubin Khoddam, Clinical Psychology PhD student at University of Southern California, founder of Psych Connection.

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Categories: Blogs by Rubin

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  1. Don’t let your feelings become infected! « Psych Connection
  2. How to become a more “Conscious Parent” « Psych Connection

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