Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ambivalence vs. Acceptance

I've been known to extol the benefits of ambivalence. Being unconcerned about what happens creates lower stress, healthier outlooks, and reduces the likelihood of unmet expectations. Ambivalence can be the way to go, especially when your goal is to be as unattached as possible.

Despite my praise for ambivalence, I'm very bad at practicing it. I remember the day in 5th grade where I decided I wasn't going to care so much. Unfortunately that just manifested itself in an unwillingness to express my emotions. Ironically, I still cared a lot, it was just that no one knew it. My pseudo-ambivalence actually led to more stress because I had all these emotions brewing inside with no outlet. I just wasn't wired for ambivalence. Doing my best has always been how I've gone about life, and resigning myself to less than that was unacceptable.

Today, however, I did realize that there was an alternative. Instead of ambivalence, I could practice acceptance. Usually, this word is used to describe relationships between people, but it doesn't have to be used that way. It can also mean a willingness to consider those things in life that we can have an impact on and choosing to accept things outside of that circumference. Very few things in life are radically different as a result of our actions, so why worry about them? We can waste valuable time, energy and resources trying to change things for which we lack control, or we can accept that sometimes this is the way things are. It doesn't mean that we stop caring, it just means that we acknowledge that God hasn't willed us His throne. He's still on it, and the things that are in His hands, aren't in ours.

I'm confident that an attitude of acceptance breeds peace. It's why we can have confidence in God's repeated commandment to not fear. When we take things as they come, there's no place for anticipating despair. And that's the place I want to be.



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Ambivalence vs. Acceptance