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Having worked on identifying my highest values, and assisted clients to do the same, what I found is my highest value and one that commonly comes up for others too, is peace.

I ended up with peace at the top of the list because of what that word means to me.  To me it encompasses love, doing what is right (acting for the highest good), forgiveness, learning, certainty in self, harmony, playfulness and freedom.  My other values all lead in the direction of peace.

When we feel anxious, uptight or stressed, what is present is a fear of loss of control, of the unknown, of what might happen, that things are not going as we want them to.

We can let go of this fear by learning to let go of being attached to particular outcomes, by letting go of the need to control, by learning to observe with an open mind and with curiosity.

A mild example of this, fresh in my mind, is a recent trip I made to the Magistrates Court to contest a parking ticket.  I was annoyed by what I believed was an unfair fine, so I contested it.  I could have gotten stressed and agitated by the council’s rejection of my letter of appeal, however I chose to simply exercise the option of taking it to court. 

I let go of attachment to whether or not I would be successful, and decided that if they made me pay the fine anyway, I’d be ok with that, and that I was simply testing something out to see what was possible.  At the court, the council representative met with me and explained that they didn’t have the discretion to consider my letter because I had not applied for a permit to park outside my own house.  She explained basically what would happen when I was called. 

The whole thing took about five minutes, I pleaded guilty and was asked what I wanted to say.  I explained the circumstances, and the magistrate let me off the fine.  He did it because he could, he had the authority to apply common sense to the situation.

Had I lost, for whatever reason, I could have become stressed by the feeling that something had not gone my way, that I had lost control of a situation in a way which seemed unjust to me.  Or, I could simply have viewed it as a learning experience and gained a greater understanding of how the system worked for this situation.

This was a trivial matter, but even small things like this are triggers for many of us to get stressed, uptight and anxious, or angry.  It’s not pleasant to feel this way, and we don’t need to, if we learn how to let go of attachment to outcomes, let go of needing to control, and learn acceptance and surrender.

Achieving this state of mind is something meditation can make a big difference with.  But to be honest, I still haven’t tried any formal kind of meditation.  I suspect that I’ve long been practicing the principles of it without being consciously aware that was what I was doing.

So whether or not you meditate, or however you do meditate, it’s worth considering the concept of acceptance and surrender.

By no means do I mean we should be apathetic and make no effort towards what is important to us.  We totally need to go for what matters to us, and live in alignment with that.  And we can do that, and still detach ourselves from the outcome we’re striving for, and approach it from a place of surrender and acceptance.  Though I don’t think I have a competitive bone in my body, I don’t believe this approach to life prevents competitiveness.  Talking about athletic achievement is not really my thing, but I have heard many stories about how athletic advancement is achieved, and the most successful approaches are focussed on doing one’s best, beating one’s own best, and visualising and imagining the successful outcome, putting in the work, and adopting a peaceful mindset, among other things.

Acceptance and surrender can be particularly useful when it comes to how we feel about being judged by others.  I’ve recently had it stressed to me how important it is to let go of concerning myself with people disagreeing with me, not liking me, or even personally attacking me.  This advice couldn’t have come at a better time as I had made the decision to free up a bit with my writing and be more and more myself, and also because in recent times I have come under attack in my personal life from people who don’t even know me.

It reinforced the idea that even standing still doing nothing, so to speak, there are people who like to judge and make personal attacks on others.  We see it often online and in the media, but it can still come as a shock when it happens to us.  It goes to show, that no matter what we do or say, or even if we do or say nothing, there are people who will set out to attack and hurt us anyway.  So why not simply do and say whatever the hell we like, in line of course with our own values.  Haters gonna hate, and all that.

Acceptance and surrender don’t mean that we’re not doing our best, having a go, making an effort.  It just means that we make peace with whatever is outside our control, like the weather, other people, random stuff that happens and so on, and carry on with what we want to do, without a rigid attachment to things having to unfold in a particular way.  Many of us have had the experience of something not going to plan, but turning out better. 

This philosophy of acceptance and surrender allows us to learn from our experience.  It even makes us more inclined to have more experiences, to try more things, to have a go and risk failure.  Those who achieve the most in life are those who are prepared to risk failure, and to fail many, many times.  That’s how they work out how to get there.

Even when we have a clear model to follow, and I strongly recommend looking for them – why re-invent the wheel- we still need to be prepared to try, and fail, many times along the way.  Acceptance and surrender to the possibility of failure is part of being committed to what you have set out to achieve.  You might achieve something quite different but just as good, or you might get to your desired outcome, or something completely out of the blue could happen.  With your peaceful mindset, you’ll cope with whatever happens and be able to enjoy the pleasant surprises along the way.

Comments   

#3 Roslin 2015-10-09 19:12
I also finding it difficult to let go, but reading your article, make me realize it is not worth stressing about, it will be easier to let go.

Thank you
#2 Jana 2015-10-08 16:06
I'm amazed at how perfect the timing is in reading this piece today! I needed this! Thank you for reminding me of the need to let go of wanting to control the outcome.
#1 Lynne 2015-07-28 11:35
Acceptance and surrender are basic factors necessary to achieve inner peace. For as long as we are true to ourselves,our values and goals we will get there.

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