The concept of acceptance keeps coming up for me. I’m reading Byron Katie’s Loving What Is to learn about greater acceptance and the unhappiness that comes from wishing for things and people to be different.
My experience of burnout and the years I have spent recovering have taught me a lot. One of the things I have learnt is to surrender. I am an A-type personality who has spent my life people-pleasing, worrying about what others think of me and fighting to affect the changes I’d like to see. And I have been unhappy for most of my working life. Certainly, there were very happy times and I have great memories of the experience and the people from my corporate past.
But the things that made me unhappy were bureaucratic hurdles, lack of support and strong leadership, unkind behaviors in the interest of furthering careers etc. My corporate life and that of a business owner were not that different. Although as an owner, I got to make all the decisions, I still encountered toxic people, resistance, sabotage and poor performance. So much struggle and frustration led to a great deal of unhappiness in those years.
The past two and a half years recovering, however, feel very different. There was still a great deal of frustration with the length of time it takes to recover and the inability to achieve goals. But I also found a lot more joy. I focused my attention on recovery and that meant that I intentionally found flow. I also include things in my day that contribute to happiness such as creative pursuits.
I learnt to surrender into the time it would take for me to be well enough to work. I learnt to accept that it would be years before I could earn income. That was difficult and it took a long time but it was part of my learning. My view is that as long as I’m aligned with my calling (which I’m sure I am), and I’m showing up to do what I can everyday, then I’m doing well.
I also had to learn self-compassion. I had to stop being so hard on myself and to learn to love and accept myself. I cut myself a considerable amount of slack and just tackled what I could each day. Some setbacks meant that I did very little with my day. And other times, I made great strides on my book, speeches or other networking opportunities. As long as I stay on track and I do my best, the rest will fall into place at the right time.
I’ve learnt to trust in a force greater than myself. I’ve learnt that trying to control things all the time is exhausting and is also not possible. I’ve found the joy in surrender and acceptance of what is happening right now and to sink into it fully. I’ve learnt to feel what I’m feeling and to stop avoiding it. I’ve learnt to be gracious about receiving and I’ve learnt to use gratitude to foster happiness.
My life is not perfect and some days I still get angry and grumpy. But overall I’m a far happier person now than I was before I got sick. I think a large part of that has been the ability to surrender and to be present, soaking up what is occurring around me at this very moment. Not wishing for the future, wanting to change the past or feeling bored. Just enjoying the now.Follow me: