Radical Acceptance Is Key To A Peaceful Life
Kristyn Meyer is on a journey to make herself the best human that she can be. These posts are a reflection of that. She welcomes your support via reading and through commissioned affiliate links within her posts! To stay up to date on all of her shenanigans, please subscribe to her email list! (psst…there’s a free gift involved)
I truly have this feeling that this is going to be one amazing year. As it currently stands, I am fresh off a great trip to visit a dear friend, my house is spic and span and completely decluttered because we are about to put it on the market (more about that in a future post), I’m energized to start the year off with a bang in the health and fitness arena, and I’m just happy. I haven’t been happy, but I figured out a way to be.
Have You Ever Utilized Radical Acceptance In Life?
I’ve been dabbling with the concept of radical acceptance. It’s where there’s something in your life that you’re not okay with, that just doesn’t sit well with you, but you move past it. You have tried to remedy it, but it’s persistent and it just sticks. Consciously, you decide to take it as it is and file it away as unresolved. You are not happy with the end result, but you release the energy that you have been devoting to it and allow it to be focused elsewhere.
I think it takes a long time to be okay with not being okay about something. Does that make any sense? So in the case of my dad, I miss him a ridiculous amount. I wish that things weren’t the way that they are. But at this point, what can I really do to make it any better? I’ve reached out, I’ve left messages, other people have rallied on my behalf. Nothing has worked, and I can’t force something that the other person doesn’t want. Am I sad about it? Absolutely. Is it worth stressing about as frequently as I do? Maybe, maybe not. Are there other things that could benefit from my attention instead of that? Absolutely.
How do you do it when you aren’t happy, but you have to be?
Baby steps are key. In the case of our adopted son, I have not been in the place to fully cut off all of the energy. If you aren’t familiar, we adopted Jake when he was 14. We were 26 years old. My mindset was completely different than what reality should have been, and that’s my fault. I wrote an article about it here that explains my mentality more.
And even though I have come to terms with it, there are still sticking points.
Although I realize that I maybe shouldn’t have been a mother figure to him, it’s still hard to not be afforded any type of respect and acknowledgment for the love that I have always had for him. Whereas before I needed to cut myself off from the parent mentality, now I have found that I need to cut myself off of the close bond mentality too.
And this is really hard to swallow.
What I thought existed, just doesn’t. Whether this is because it was never there or it’s a result of all the issues that have happened in the past years, I don’t know. But it’s painful. And it feels like you close one door of hurt to just be confronted with another. In a way, you don’t want to hurry to close this next door because you are afraid of what might come next. That spurt of calmness that I had when I was finally able to “radically accept” that I wasn’t the parent I thought was all too brief.
And this is one of those things that is a prime example of what should fall under that umbrella. Especially being fresh off the coattails of the other realization. There is no point in further explaining the pain to try to remedy it because if I’ve learned anything over the process of radical acceptance the first time around, it’s that being a broken record does not aid the situation any. And my feelings, story, and opinion haven’t changed. I still love the child, I care about him a great deal. I still want to be a big part of his life, but I want it to be reciprocated. And in all the telling of that line, I’ve yet to get the result that my heart wants. So at this point, there’s no use.
I want it to be clear that none of this reflects on Jake as a person.
This is a reflection of me and the assumptions that I have held and tried to make real.
If you’ve ever met him, you know that Jake is amazing. It’s why I love him so much. He has a great sense of humor, he’s a blast to be around – his energy radiates. You can’t be in Jake’s presence and not want to be around him. There’s something about him that just draws people in. And his eyes, the kid has amazing eyes. They are Bradley Cooper level, and I know that you know what that is. He’s probably the only person who could do a creepy stalker stare at a girl and end up dating her because the stare caused her to fall in love with his eyes.
Aside from all of that, he has the innate ability to make people fall in love with him – when he worked in the cafeteria at a college, he became friends with the President because he would have daily conversations with her when she came to get lunch. The kid had no clue that she was the president, he is just overly social and people love him for it.
He’s the cool kid. And at this point, I feel like the unpopular dork that is desperate for the attention of the popular person. I’m that kid who calls all the time and asks to do things but doesn’t take the hint when the answer is always no.
How is it easy when you aren’t happy, but you have to be?
It’s not. Even though it’s such a cut and dry example of radical acceptance, I just am having a hard time ripping off the bandage. I’m doing it one little fiber at a time until my heart can handle the full pull.
As I said earlier, we are getting ready to put our house on the market. The realtor sent a stager out (I call her Lady Stager) to tell us what our house needs to look like to attract the most interested buyers. This meant doing some pre-packing – which actually might not even end up being pre-packing but preparing for donation because I really don’t think we needed most of the stuff that we put in there.
While pre-packing/pre-donating, I walked into the room that my son used to occupy. I haven’t been in that room in months, it’s in the basement and I just don’t go down there frequently.
But I was in there cleaning up when I pulled back the duvet on his bed and saw his Buzz Lightyear comforter.
This comforter has been in our life just as long as Jake has. The very first day that we got custody of him, we went and let him pick out all of the things he wanted for his new room. We got him a loft bed, a dresser, moved the futon in there and gave him one of our tv’s. He was insistent that he wanted a Buzz Lightyear comforter – for what reason I am not sure, but he was very particular on what it looked like. We found the sheets, and then had to order what became known as “The Buzz Blanket” or simply “Buzz”. If we were looking for it, you would hear one of us in the house say: “Where’s Buzz?” and we all knew what that meant.
In time, it became a community blanket that we all used.
I think I had a stronger attachment to the blanket over time than Jake himself did. I remember hiding the blanket when he would get mad and move out. My fear was that he would take it with him. My husband even knew how much that blanket meant to me, although probably not why, and would defend my right to the blanket if it came up. Once, Jake was mad and getting ready to leave again. I took the blanket into my bedroom and he was pounding on the door asking for it. My husband told him to leave it be, that the blanket wasn’t going anywhere. At that point, Jake hadn’t even used it for a comforter in years.
But as I looked at the blanket the other day, I had a revelation as to why Buzz was so important to me. When I looked at it, I remembered the happiness that came in that time of our lives. I remember the child who had eyes as big as saucers in excitement at seeing his new room for the first time. I remember how happy and proud I was to be this child’s mother. And through all the bad times, I found myself clinging to that blanket and those memories. When Jake would leave, or after a bad argument, I would wrap myself in that blanket, in the memories. It was instinct. My eyes would immediately scan the room to find it and I would cloak myself in it.
I think I was just always trying to hold on to the good times, and the hopefulness that we all had then.
But as life has turned out, my feelings were all wrong. What I had wasn’t actually what I had. I just painted my own picture and ran with it. So those memories aren’t actually true memories in a sense, it’s my version of that period in time. The memories that others held, and the thoughts and opinions that came with them, were completely different. And my one-lane brain took a long time to come to terms with what is reality versus what my fantasy held.
And with that, I picked up the old and tattered, holey Buzz off the bed and walked him over to the trash pile.
My husband could not believe it, and said:
“This is a big day for you.”
Maybe he understood better than I thought.
Baby steps. With some radical acceptance.