How to Accept?
When I wrote the article 4 Stages of special parenting, I saw the need to explain acceptance a little deeper.
How can you accept the fact that you have a special child or any other challenging life situation?
- By knowing that you are not a looser. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing you can do about it. You can’t control whether someone has brain damage. And there is always a bigger picture of everything that exists.
- By knowing that everyone has challenges and that is the nature of life. Someone outlives their children; someone has very sick parents to take care of. Someone is terminally ill and knows that their children will soon be left without a parent. Someone’s child is in prison. Someone’s child is a drug addict, and they are facing challenges. Someone is struggling in an abusive relationship. Someone struggles with money so much that they live without any dignity. Someone lost their job today. Someone is so shy and has a lack of self-confidence that is paralyzed to simply live.
You are not the only one with challenges. And the suffering doesn’t define you. You are not your pain. You are someone who lives a life. Life is happening for us, not to us.
This is not an invitation to feel better knowing that some other people are feeling worse.
I just want to break the illusion if you think you have the greatest pain in the world. You know, to shake off from your self-pity for a while.
- This can be your excuse to be depressed and anxiousor to learn and grow and become more. Whatever situation you are in, there is someone somewhere in the world that is begging to have what you have.
- You can’t help your child or anyone else if you are paralyzed by the thought that they are suffering so much. You can’t be of any help when you are in self-pity: “Why? What have I done wrong?” You just can’t. Understand your role in this. You are a helper. You are the closest person your child has. And you can’t take the circumstances from their life on you. Your job is to overcome sadness and stop being desperate. Don’t make this about yourself.
Your child is learning a great soul lesson living through this perspective. And at the same time, they are serving a greater cause. They are teachers, and they inspire others. Let them be who they need to be and appreciate them from where they are.
What happens if you don’t accept?
If you can’t accept after 5, 10, or 20 years that you have a special child, you stay in a victim mode. Victim mode is a state of mind where you are convinced that your hands are tied, and there is nothing you can do about it. You think someone is doing something to you (in this case, it’s God, destiny, karma, etc.).
Plus, it is a great excuse for feeling miserable, sad, and desperate. When you are in this mode, you are overwhelming yourself with thoughts like: “It’s not fair. The doctors sure made a mistake – it’s their fault. The vaccine caused this. God hates me.” – you get the picture.
Being in a victim role has one big weakness – it doesn’t let you grow. It leads you to procrastination. It makes you stop trying. You can’t progress from such a state of mind.
And the opposite of that, when you overcome the victim role, you are able to grow. Then you open yourself to learning. The more you learn and grow, the more this whole family’s situation will make sense. You will appreciate your life. You will be happy and fulfilled, and you will find new ways how to do that. Your flexibility will grow.
And you will enjoy life having adventures, going to places and meeting people you would never meet if it wasn’t for your special child.
Accept and move on. Don’t let yourself live the same hell (in your head) all over again every next day.
How did my acceptance happen?
It happened at the end of the summer in 2018. Joana had one of her crises with crying and sleeping disorders. We went to a hospital in South Germany which is very far from our home. She was 4 years old, and I felt completely exhausted, unslept, desperate, and helpless. During that hospital stay, I got the idea, for the first time, that my misery and unhappiness are a result of my perspective.
What if I look at this in the wrong way? What if “Why me?” wasn’t the right question. What if “What am I learning from this?” was the point of all of this?
As these new questions were coming to me, I felt relieved and excited. I felt glimpses of enthusiasm and joy, and I knew that something shifted inside of me.
Ok, what do I do now? I realized that I have things to learn. I knew that I’ve stayed in the victim scenario for too long. “It’s not fair” was my mantra, and I needed to change it. If I knew then what I know now, I would immediately hire a life coach. But that happened later when I completed the process of acceptance by myself.
First, I started to listen to motivational videos. I was bombarded with these new perspectives from many of the teachers on YouTube that teach how personal development is the way that will bring you to a happier life. I opened my mind and just started to take in.
One of my first learned lessons was that our emotions are a result of our thoughts. And I also learned that I need to change my behavior or at least some of my habits if I want my life and situation to change for the better. I needed to change the way I react to things.
So next time Joana cried and one more unslept night was in front of us, I took her, I was holding her, and I whispered in her ear that it’s fine, it’s all right. I told her I love her, and I am not trying to fix her anymore. If she needs to cry – she can cry. She knows how to process what she feels the best. And she stopped crying. And she fell asleep. And I couldn’t believe that I did that.
It was unbelievable that I reacted that way because just a few days ago, this would have been a totally different situation. I would be worried that she is crying. I would try to imagine her suffering, which would bring me to even bigger suffering. I would feel like a victim of the faith and full of self-pity. In the end, I would probably cry also. She would feel that energy, and we would be running round and around in circles.
I tried to change the way I react in such situation, and the results came very fast.
And I knew I am on the right path, and I kept learning. A few days later, I started my morning and evening routine. And I had even better results. The whole energy around me changed for the better. I was more aware of the present moment and my thoughts. New ideas started to come.
How I know, I accepted?
By the feeling of joy. I started to feel deep joy and fulfillment. I began to appreciate life more. I was appreciative of everything we’ve lived in the last four years. I could find positive in everything. I learned that I have insecurities I wasn’t aware of and cleaned many issues regarding other people’s opinions.
I practiced my morning and evening routine. I was looking at the world with new eyes. I reduced my judgment towards other people because I understood that everyone is acting from their perspective. I found out that it’s much easier to understand than to make a judgment. Because that brought me so much more peace than the attempt to be right in every situation.
I started to accept Joana’s condition and every event around it, as well as the other things that were going on in my life. I began to believe that there is a reason for everything, and there is a bigger picture that I might not always see. But even if I don’t see it at the moment, things are always working out for me.
What did this mean for her? She got two self-aware and conscious parents. She was in a loving environment full of positive energy. She received pure unconditional love from us, liberated from frustration, nervousness, panic, and stress. That is the best gift we could’ve to give to her.
I want to point something else too. If it feels impossible to you at the moment, don’t force yourself to accept. It’s better to allow yourself to go through your own process that will last maybe another year than trying to catch up with others. False acceptance will soon breakdown and can cause you depression. We have to take responsibility for that part too. We have to be aware of our capacity, how we function, what our belief system is, and our weaknesses that need a little work and effort.
And you will know when it comes. It will feel like waking up from a bad dream. It will feel like hope, joy, and enthusiasm.
Every one of us is different and needs to follow their inner guidance.
Here you can find the previous articles: