Finding joy as you accept reality

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before.  You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” – Elizabeth Edwards.

Accepting the reality of the situation is not something that comes easy to people.  I, like many others, do not like change, particularly when it brings about negative consequences.  But after my wife’s strokes at the young age of 37, we were facing a new reality that we never thought about or prepared for but were suddenly thrust into.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the seven stages of grief.  These are often referenced and applied when someone passes away or some terrible event happens in our lives.  The stages include 1)Shock & Denial, 2)Pain & Guilt, 3)Anger & Bargaining, 4)Depression, Reflection, Loneliness, 5)The upward turn, 6)Reconstruction & working through, and 7)Acceptance & hope.  As empathetic humans we grieve often over people, events and situations and we may move slowly or very rapidly through the grief stages in order to be able to function and continue through our daily lives.  The goal being acceptance of your situation and hope for the future rather than getting angry at the situation or lashing out at others involved.

I have blogged before about the emotions and drama that some choose to inject into animal rescue activities, and shared with you that in my opinion the problems they are creating.  They post regularly using phrases like URGENT and CODE RED and WILL DIE to try and garner attention for what they believe is the next action people should take instead of looking for the bright spots, working together, and encouraging others as we work to change the reality that we all live in.  In my opinion these people are mired in the first 3 stages of grief and may never be able to get to acceptance and hope for the future.  Then again, maybe they don’t want to get to acceptance and hope either.  What’s ironic is that the animals that they and we are working so hard to save don’t spend their time and energy thinking about why things are the way they are, they just accept their situation as their reality.

No, I am not advocating that you just be content with things the way they are, or to just move on with your life with the status quo.  Rather, I am asking you to consider the time, energy and emotions that are tied up if you have not yet accepted reality for what it is.  Once you reach acceptance of your current reality, your mind is clearer and you can focus on the goal ahead instead of being fogged in by the emotions of the earlier stages as you were reconciling with your grief.

I’m suggesting that you look for the small wins, the opportunity to get to YES, and the chance to collaborate with and support your fellow rescuers to build the new reality that we seek to attain, where animals are treated as sentient beings, and afforded the rights, care and respect that they deserve as residents of the planet.

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