I have been a bit anxious lately with no particular obvious reason as to why. Being someone who is generally peaceful inside, I wanted to get back to that state of being. I went to bed last night wondering about the cause of my underlying feeling. The minute I opened my eyes this morning, my late grandfather came to mind. I could almost hear his voice whispering in my ear: “The secret to happiness is…”
I started remembering his life — one that was full and happy. He woke up every morning at the same time, had breakfast with my grandmother and went to work in the yard. During the winter months, he chopped wood and heated their big house. At noon sharp, he had his lunch. He never missed supper at 6pm nor his drink before that with his favorite appetizer: a freshly cut beefsteak tomato and cucumber from the garden. He never left the dinner table without thanking my grandma for the food she prepared and never went to bed before kissing her goodnight. Despite experiencing bankruptcy and losing his son, my grandpa kept his composure about life’s events and never complained. He taught me how to play cards, which was his favorite pastime. He never read psychology books or self-empowerment ones. Actually his education was pretty limited. During the war, he opted to work hard in order to send his brother to school. As a matter of fact, his brother earned a degree in business and went into partnership with my grandpa. My grandpa seemed to have figured out how to live life simply and happily.
So, what was the secret to happiness that he kept reiterating to me? And how does this secret relate to what I am going through right now?
Acceptance… Accepting what life sends your way is underrated by many of us. In reality, if we look at our daily life, we find that many of our circumstances can’t be changed by us: we can’t change our gender, our color, the family we are born into or any of our past experiences. The only thing we can change is our attitude towards them, accepting them for their face value: Nothing more and nothing less. Surrender, let go and honor what you can’t control. It all boils down to acceptance.
I realized this morning that I had open projects in almost every single aspect of my life: house chores, my work, my family — making an effort on this and acting on that. As if every thing I have, do or own needs to be improved upon. This made me really anxious, not appreciating things as they are… right now.
Thank you grandpa for whispering your words of wisdom in my ear this morning. I have decided to accept all that I can’t control and to do the things I can with a sense of appreciation and awe. This does not mean that I will stop improving but that I will enjoy it while it lasts.
What about you? Could you make a list of the things you are resisting in your life? Would it make a difference in your happiness if you were to accept them? If, so… accept them and be happy!