Sometimes you’re an observer of other people’s lives and you think you’ll never experience what they’re living, whether it’s a positive or negative situation. You think, “That will never happen to me.”
Part of the real beauty of life is that it’s unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, everything changes, and of course, a lot of things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. The problem is that we need to cultivate the ability to truly accept whatever comes and embrace it.
We need to develop the habit of looking at whatever happens through a positive mindset instead of a negative, defeatist one.
Of course, life will bring many challenges, such as the death of someone we love, and it’s not easy to embrace them when we’re suffering and wishing those things would have never happened. But if we start cultivating acceptance in our lives right now, we’ll likely cope with future crises in a different way and view them from a different perspective. We will accept instead or resisting.
I am big fan of Deepak’s Chopra’s The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success. He dedicates one complete chapter (Law #4) to how we need to receive with open arms what happens to us, because if we fight and resist it, we are generating a lot of turbulence in our minds.
He explains that we might want things to be different in the future, but in the present moment we need to accept things as they are. That’s the way you can make your life flow smoothly instead of roughly.
During the last year of my life I have learned the true power of acceptance.
The first lesson I learned was last year when my boyfriend broke up with me after three years together. Even though I was reluctant to believe he wouldn’t give me a second chance during the initial months, I eventually realized I had no option but to accept his choice and move on with my life.
I discovered that I was happier and more peaceful when I accepted what had happened instead of constantly fighting to change things.
Recently life has presented another challenge to me.
I met someone a few months ago, and even though it was clear from the beginning that nothing could ever happen between us, love found its way through. I couldn’t help feeling something deep and real for him. I allowed myself to give into the feeling, even though my mind was screaming to get out—and fast.
I have to accept things as they are, and right now we cannot be together for many reasons. There may be hope down the road; maybe someday things might work out. But right now, in this moment, that’s impossible. I have chosen to accept that fully.
Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but a choice nonetheless.
There are two ways out of a problem: accept what’s happening, see the positive, and choose a peaceful state of mind; or fight against it, be miserable, and struggle against the universe.
Even though my two examples are related to love and relationships, I am 100 percent positive that learning to accept things as they present themselves is a helpful tool in all aspects of life.
Whether it’s a family loss, a missed opportunity, or a sudden change in your plans, being able to accept things that are out of your control will help you maintain inner peace and happiness.
Acceptance, in my opinion, is the key to convert momentary happiness to enduring happiness. It helps you move from feeling happy to actually being happy.
Practicing acceptance prepares you to live in this changing world, where you never know what’s going to happen next. Acceptance is like protecting yourself with your own shield.
Let me clarify that acceptance is not at all related to weakness, and is definitely not a synonym of conformity or mediocrity.
We need to learn how to identify when it’s time to persist and when it’s time to accept.
One thing that makes acceptance much easier is to list all the possible explanations for why you’re experiencing something.
For example, I know I met this person to help him go through a very difficult moment in his life. He needed me. He needed to be heard, to be understood. And I was there for him in those ways. I fulfilled a purpose.
Finding the lesson or purpose behind every challenge will help you embrace it instead of fighting it.
Choose not to judge what happens to you. Instead, believe that everything happens for a reason and that better things will always follow. That’s the beginning of true acceptance.
Somewhere recently I read that the important thing is not to understand why something happened. Our understanding can wait, but our obedience cannot.
I translate this to mean that when something unpredictable happens, instead of complaining and over-thinking it, we need to choose to live with it.
I know it’s hard to practice acceptance when you deeply wish things were different. But the truth is, sometimes we can’t change our reality, even if we try.
So instead of staring at the closed door in front of us, or getting tired and bruised while we try to break it down, let’s turn around and see how many other windows we have open.
About The Blog
Want more Tiny Buddha? Follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and don’t forget to subscribe to Tiny Buddha to receive free daily or weekly emails! You can also grab the latest book, Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, along with the complete Tiny Buddha book series, here.
I spent probably 20 years of my life wishing I was thinner.
No matter how much weight I lost, I still never thought my body looked right. I always wanted to change it or fix it, so that I would look different than how I was.
Like so many women, I fantasized about finally being thin. It became the promise of a new life…
When I’m thinner, I’ll start dating.
When I lose weight, I’ll stop avoiding social outings and go out with friends more.
When I get back to where I was last year, I’ll rock this new dress I bought.
When I’m a different size, I’ll sign up for that dance class I’ve always wanted to take.
Have you ever done that?
But when/if you do lose the weight and actually get to the size you want to be…
It may bring a moment of elation. You fit into that dress, you look great in a pair of jeans, or you don’t mind being naked as much.
You still have to deal with life. You still may want to stress-eat when you get angry at your partner. The tub of ice cream may still be your go-to coping mechanism. And you can still hear the call of the cookies when conflict arises and you don’t want to deal with it.
We lose the weight, but we are still us.
With the same habits, behaviors and reactions.
The desperate “wish to be thinner” only derails the journey. The real work is about going inside and looking at WHY we do what we do with food.
So, when you find yourself desperately wishing you were thinner, remember these two things:
1. Find “Enoughness”
We are all born knowing we are enough.
Little kids don’t ever question whether or not they are enough. They simply know. They show up exactly as they are in this world and never for a second wonder if they aren’t good enough.
It’s a learned behavior to feel “not enough.”
We grow up learning that, in order to be acceptable, we’ve got to look or be different than we really are.
You learn to feel you’re not acceptable until you’re thinner/have a nicer car/get a better job. You learn to feel you have to be slimmer, more toned, prettier, or more perfect before you can be enough.
But I’m calling BS on all of it. Who ever said that a size 16 is “less than” a size 4? Who actually determined that this shape is better than that body type?
It all begins with how we perceive ourselves.
And the journey to healing starts with finding enoughness.
The deep belief that you are acceptable enough just as you are.
Where and how do you find this deep belief?
You find it inside of YOU.
If you can’t find it, don’t know what it feels like, or find it confusing, make this your mission. Fervently explore how to find the feeling of being enough.
I found it through meditation, journaling, connection inside, and a deep knowing that innately I AM enough.
You may find it through any of this or something else: religion, spiritual work, writing, a passion, affirmations, etc.
If you need permission to believe it, here is that permission. Permission to be exactly who you are in this world. Enough, just by being you.
This isn’t something you find once and are done. It’s a lifelong process of remembering and forgetting.
How do you believe you are enough?
Because you just are.
Whether you are 3lbs overweight or 300lbs overweight, you are still you. You are still YOU with or without the extra weight. There is no one as beautifully unique, with exactly your qualities, look, quirks, personality, and way of being in this world. Accept that. Embrace it.
Enoughness isn’t something you “get.” It’s something you discover that was there all along … a deep whisper in your soul that beckons and waits for you to connect.
2. What Do You Really Want?
What else do you want besides being thinner or having a different body?
What do you deeply, truly desire … more than anything?
Comfort in your skin?
To look better in clothes?
To look good naked?
These are all just scratching the surface.
What ELSE do you really want?
When I was desperately struggling with food and my weight, I asked myself this question.
It took some prodding to go deeper and hear the answer, because for so long I’d stuffed it down and ignored it.
What was it that I deeply longed for?
I wanted to travel and explore the world.
I wanted to do something big with my life.
I wanted to explore my passion of writing.
I wanted to find deep connection in an intimate relationship.
I wanted to end a relationship that I was in.
I wanted freedom to explore who I was without the expectations of others.
But wanting to be thinner was easier.
I knew how to fix that problem. Diet, exercise, restrict, control my food. Boom, problem solved.
Except you all know how that cycle goes… (Cue binging, overeating, and then promising to start over again.)
You see, I wanted to travel, but felt terrified of quitting my job.
I wanted to do something big and bold with my life, but was afraid I never would.
I wanted to explore my passion for writing, but was scared of what others would think.
I wanted to be more intimate, but was horrified at the thought of baring my soul to someone.
I wanted to end a relationship, but was scared at the thought of being alone.
I wanted so much MORE … but change, uncertainty and failure terrified me.
So I focused on controlling my food, fixing my body, and changing the number on the scale. It was an easy, familiar problem that I knew how to fix. It made it possible for me to avoid facing my biggest desires.
So, my dear, what is it that you deeply want?
If you don’t know, ask the question anyway. See if anything comes up.
Open the conversation with the deeper part of you. She’s always speaking to you, if you take the time to listen.
It’s your turn now.
When you find yourself wanting to be thinner, how can you use your innate enoughness and your true desires to bring yourself back to your journey?
Want to learn more?
Watch Jenn’s interview with Your Brilliance where she talks about what it takes to eat normally again.
I recently took my 10-year-old niece and her cousin shopping for new dresses. As they tried on clothes, my niece commented, “Nothing looks good on me; Sabrina looks good in everything.” It surprised me to hear such a young girl expressing such poor body image and comparing herself unfavorably to her cousin. Yet the very next morning I myself was a witness to a similar discussion between two friends of mine. One, a woman who is enviably slim and fit, casually complained about feeling fat and the other, a man with a near-perfect physique, joined in, saying that since he hit 30, his body was getting “soft and round.”
Regardless of actual body type or attire, many of us suffer from a barrage of self-critical thoughts.
People’s views of their bodies are not only cruel but inaccurate. A friend of mine recently told me how down on herself she feels about getting older and confessed that she continually compares herself negatively to “younger, prettier girls.” She showed me an old picture of herself, of the “skinny and youthful” woman she once was. When I asked her how she felt about herself at that time, she remembered that the very day the picture was taken, she’d felt fat, ugly, and full of the same self-hate she felt today. Her perception of herself as a young woman was as flawed as her current self-image. What she really needed to address wasn’t wrinkles under her eyes or grays in her hair but the deep-seated feeling of shame that’s long kept her from accepting herself as the attractive woman she truly is.
What is the underlying cause for the damaging thoughts that we harbor about our bodies? What is the reason for the discrepancy between the critical way we see ourselves and the realistic view that others have of us? Our basic self-perception is shaped by both positive and negative programming from our past. For example, when a parent or other significant adult persists in looking at a child’s face critically, that child will begin to incorporate the thought or believe that that there is something inherently wrong with him or her, particularly his or her physical self.
Early experiences impact our way of seeing ourselves and remain sources for inaccurate self-criticism throughout our lives. People who face issues of low self-esteem can trace them to feelings of humiliation, rejection, or disappointment they suffered in childhood. When young children search for the origin of these feelings, they often look within themselves rather than finding fault with an adult they are dependent on. One of the easiest places for them to lay the blame is on their physical appearance.
Throughout our lives, other experiences can feed into the deep, old sense of shame that stems from as early as our first few years of life. We continue to assign this ongoing feeling of shame to parts of our bodies that we see in a negative light. We can attribute humiliations in front of a classroom, hurtful breakups, career failures, and even minor mistakes to not looking right and add to our inner well of self-hatred.
Too often, we go from feeling negatively about our appearance to actually avoiding certain activities and events, because we don’t want to be seen. Thoughts that we are too short, tall, or out of shape can keep us from going out with friends or taking our shirt off at the beach. Negative body image can also keep us from more meaningful courses of action: We may assume someone we’re interested in is not attracted to us, or avoid intimacy altogether, because we are insecure about how we look. When we lose confidence in ourselves, we may resign ourselves to familiar activities and situations instead of pursuing what we really want to do; for instance, staying at home and avoiding a party, because we feel like we are not as attractive as other people who are going.
Each of us harbors a unique prescription for self-loathing. Therefore, we’re often sheltered in our own bubble of shame, coached by an inner critic that tells us we are different, flawed, and lesser than those around us. We even project these self-attacks onto others and think that they are critical of us or not attracted to us. We may notice that our self-attacks get a lot louder in situations where we become self-conscious of our bodies, like getting out of the shower or going out at night.
This “critical inner voice” instructs us to hide our bodies. It’s an internal coach telling us to leave our tank tops on at the beach. It whispers to us that, since we are flawed, we should drive ourselves to excessively pursue perfection—or just give up. Even though it may instruct us to exercise or diet, the same voice lures us to take it easy or have that second cupcake. It then punishes us by calling us “weak” or “failures” in a vicious cycle that perpetuates the process.
Our bodies are often the biggest target of our critical inner voice. No matter where we stand in life, it informs us of our imperfections and keeps us from fully enjoying ourselves or relaxing in our own skin. We can choose to starve or feed, hide or reveal ourselves all based on the faulty advice of this inner critic.
Challenging the “voice” is key to accepting our bodies. But when we do, we can expect to face some serious anxiety. Acting against these thoughts is not just about confronting a few surface criticisms. Rather, it involves awakening a great beast fed on the belief that we are inadequate in some way. This beast may be cruel, but it has also grown familiar to us. Acting against its will by taking our goals seriously and feeling confident in our bodies will rouse the critic, which may get louder for a time.
However, like the Wicked Witch melting in the Wizard of Oz, the voice will eventually fade into the background. So when it tells us to keep our sweater on or to hide in the back of the room, it is important to throw caution to the wind and remember that this act isn’t just about shedding layers of fabric. It’s about stripping yourself of years of self-hatred, shame, and misplaced criticism that just doesn’t belong in the here and now.
Twelve tips on how to let go so you can have personal freedom.
“To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.” –Jack Kornfield
Holding on to pain doesn’t fix anything. Replaying the past over and over again doesn’t change it, and wishing things were different doesn’t make it so. In some cases, especially when it comes to the past, all you can do is accept whatever it is you’re holding on to and then let it go. That’s how everything changes. You have to let go of what is hurting you, even if it feels almost impossible. Deciding to hold on to the past will hold you back from creating a strong sense of self — a self that isn’t defined by your past, but rather by who you want to be. Oddly enough, painful feelings can be comfortable, especially if they’re all you know. Some people have trouble letting go of their pain or other unpleasant emotions about their past because they think those feelings are part of their identity. In some ways, they may not know who they are without their pain. This makes it impossible for them to let go.
If you find it hard to let go of the past, a bad relationship, grudges, etc., these 12 tips could help:
1. Understand that the relationships you thought you’d have are going to be different than the ones you actually have.
We must accept the person we are in this moment and the way other people are, too. As time goes on, we continue to learn that things don’t always go as planned — actually, they pretty much never do. And that’s okay: If you become aware of yourself and your part of your relationships, they will improve; however, you may also have to accept facts about certain people in your life. Practice gratitude, appreciation, and trust in the process.
2. Don’t be invested in the outcome when it comes to dealing with people, because it often leads to disappointment.
Expectations have a way of keeping us stuck because they lead us to fear certain outcomes. There are no guarantees in life, and there’s nothing we can really do to get the outcomes we desire when dealing with others. When our expectations or needs aren’t met, we need to respond rationally and appropriately. Sometimes this means setting respectful boundaries; other times, it means letting go.
3. Don’t live in chains when you have the key. We live with self-limiting beliefs that we let define who we are.
We think, “I could never do that!” or “I could never make that happen!” If you truly believe that, you’ll never accomplish your goals. Open up your mind, and believe in yourself. There will be many people who tell you that you can’t do it. It’s up to you to prove them wrong.
4. Let go of the idea that you can control others’ actions. We really only have control over ourselves and how we act.
You can’t change another person, so don’t waste your time and energy trying. I think this is the biggest factor that pushes people to hold onto unhelpful behaviors, like the need to please. We think, “If only I do everything for everyone, they’ll never get mad at me.” Wrong!
5. Only worry about what you think of yourself.
Free yourself from being controlled by what other people think. Start to prioritize how you feel about yourself. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” You can’t live by your values if you’re living for the approval of others.
6. Leave room for mistakes.
Did you make a mistake or say something stupid? It’s okay! Use the experience to learn and make a joke. It doesn’t make you stupid to say something wrong or silly: it makes you human, and sometimes even funny.
7. Accept the things you cannot change.
Stop wishing things could be the way they once were. Bring yourself into the present moment. This is where life happens. You can’t change the past; you can only make decisions today to help how your future turns out.
8. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
This will allow you to relax and enjoy life’s journey. I laugh with myself and at myself all the time.
9. Do what scares you.
Fear holds us back from doing a lot of things because it closes our minds to possibilities for our future and locks us into our comfort zone. Most fears fill us with doubt and “what ifs” that imprison us. The more you do to get out of your comfort zone, the more fear will subside. In life, do what scares you, and you’ll grow and succeed!
10. Express what works for you.
Find your voice, and share with others what you’re thinking and feeling in a rational way. If you continue to communicate with others what works for you and doesn’t work for you, you’ll no longer bottle up your emotions. Expressing yourself is an important part of feeling good about yourself and your relationships.
11. Allow yourself to feel negative emotions.
Whether you lost a loved one through death or a break-up, honor your loss. Trying to ignore your negative emotions will extend your suffering. Loss is difficult to experience, and it’s okay to allow yourself to hurt and be sad. Let yourself feel, and go through the grief process so that you can move forward.
12. Learn forgiveness.
Resentment and unwillingness to forgive will keep you locked in the past and prevent you from moving forward with your life. Remember: When you forgive, you aren’t doing it for the other person; you’re doing it for yourself. If for no other reason than that, forgive and let go.
Carl Jung said, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” There’s a lesson in that for all of us: Try to let go of whatever it is that’s holding you back from experiencing yourself. You’ll probably realize that you are not what other people say you are. You are not your pain, your past, or your emotions. It’s the negative ideas about ourselves and our hurtful self-talk that get in the way of who we really want to be. Being able to let go requires a strong sense of self, which gives you the ability to learn and grow from your experiences.
Take comfort in the idea that everything happening in your life right now is meant to be happening. Whatever is happening is exactly the way it should be in order to bring you the best possible long term outcome.
If good things are coming your way and you’re feeling happy, appreciated and loved you can feel happy in the knowledge that you deserve this. Let go of any guilty feelings or feelings of unworthiness that threaten to spoil your pleasure. Trust that you have been given exactly what you are meant to have.
If however you are experiencing hardship, grief or a difficult time in general, it is easy to feel that life is cruel and to feel sorry for ourselves. The tough times are, in fact, as important as the easy times as they teach us valuable life lessons. When we are going through a tough time we learn a lot about ourselves and about our capabilities to handle tricky times. Difficult experiences can help us to learn new coping skills and to gain confidence in many ways. If you can come through tough times, you begin to have more faith in your abilities to manage through conflict and turbulence. You will end up stronger, wiser and richer in spirit.
Life is a mixture of good and bad, neither last indefinitely but each will shine light on the other and help you to appreciate the value it brings you. I things are hard for you, realise that there is a reason for it and that it won’t last forever. Change is inevitable.
Believe that you have the power and strength within you to handle whatever comes your way. Try not to waste time on regrets and see your current situation as a culmination of past decisions that have brought you purposefully to this point, even if you cannot see clear reasons for it.
When you accept that everything is as it should be, you stop struggling for solutions and quick fixes. Instead, take a deep breath and relax allowing life to unfold in the best way possible for easier times ahead. Live in the moment as much as possible for you don’t know the outcome, even of you think you do. Stop focusing on the future, or regretting the past..everything is as it should be.
Here’s a question from 17-year-old reader Josie, who’s havin’ a little trouble accepting her body just the way it is…
Q: I’m still in the recovery of my own battle with food; unhealthy binge/restrict cycles since I was 12, then full blown bulimia when I was 15. I acknowledged it was a problem about 18 months ago, but it took 6 months to pluck up the courage to to see someone, and then another 6 before I stopped purging. Then slowly the bingeing started subsiding.
As the bingeing left, I slowly lost weight to a point where I’m now inside my ‘comfort zone.’ Bingeing was disappearing but with stress of exams I’ve binged a couple of times in the last 2 days. Yesterday I binged on a creme egg, half a packet of haribo and a bag of 10 mini brownies, today I’ve had part of this giant cookie, a mouthful of marzipan and this other weird Dutch thing but again not much. Neither time was I left feeling bloated or sick. I know I’m making progress, but it doesn’t feel like it
I was going through a great stage of feeling good about myself a couple of months ago but then I overate every day during Christmas. When my bingeing was at its lowest I was starting to like my body. But it seems to have..gone. And I don’t know how to bring it back. Have you got any tips for accepting yourself as you are? —Josie, 17
A: Hi Josie. First, thank you for writing and sharing your story and struggles-that’s what this site is all about.
You say you’re having trouble accepting yourself as you are. Ho, boy, does that sound familiar! It used to be that the only time I ever felt slim, happy and in control if I was on a diet. It didn’t matter whether I had actually lost any weight yet or not-just being on a restrictive food plan made me feel skinnier and better about myself. So I stayed on diets off and on for years. But it never stuck. The bingeing always returned, and with it, the depression, self-loathing and flat-out body hate.
Food, weight and the shapes of our physical bodies aren’t actually the problem. It’s our minds. I finally got so tired of the diet and binge cycle that I vowed never to restrict my food again. I vowed to work solely on building my self-esteem (mostly through talk therapy and reading) and being kind to my body (I started jogging for mental and physical health, not beauty). And after a couple of years (I know, that sounds like forever!) I got to a point where I honestly said: If I stay this weight forever, that’s OK with me.
I focused on getting better at my job, and doing things that made me feel strong and accomplished, like making new friends or doing things that used to scare me. I jogged the NYC marathon (all the while not losing a pound). I continued with therapy. I sought out a support group for bingers. And I started recovering more and more.
Soon binges became rare, and most days I had a lot of peace around food. The funny thing is, after I let go of the physical and truly believed-down to my soul-that my weight didn’t matter, my outsides started to change a bit. I go to a point in my recovery where I became ready to focus on eating better, for my health and happiness, not looks. And it just so happened to have the side effect of making my body a bit smaller and fitter.
I had to completely let go of weight and size in order to get to my body’s happiest place. Seems counterintuitive, but that’s the way it happened for me.
I feel like that was a bit rambling-forgive me, I was on a plane for eight hours yesterday!-but I hope it helped. I guess the bottom line of what I’m trying to say is that the body dislike you’re feeling after bingeing is totally normal. The excess food does have a physiological effect on us-making us retain water and feel puffy or sluggish. But it’s mostly mental. We feel we’ve failed. We feel weak. We feel out of control and we feel fat, whether we actually are or not.
Just remember that you won’t always feel that way. And day by day as you continue to address the mental and emotional reasons behind your eating, your physical body will come into line. As you get healthy on the inside, it’ll get healthier on the outside.
Are you disappointed?
Why? Life is not going the way you expected? Do you find yourself thinking, “this is not the way it’s supposed to be”. On the other hand, how do you really know how life is supposed to go? Did you learn it from your uncle, the media or your friends? Do you have your own independent ideas on what life should or shouldn’t be?
Where is the money?
Hey, wasn’t I supposed to be rich? Didn’t they tell us on TV that the American dream is alive and well? Unfortunately this is not the case and most people are just barley making it through the month. The economy has been faltering for years and every small thing costs a fortune. What is the meaning of life if you can’t buy what you want? How are you supposed to be happy without the house in the Hamptons?
Are your kids driving you crazy?
For a Jew, nothing can be more painful then his children descending into the abyss of today’s insane philosophies and perverted societies. The changes of the past 20 years has turned the world on it’s head, leaving anyone with a little bit of morality or intellect running for the hills. What is life about if our children are slowly becoming immoral? How can we feel content if our offspring are drowning in a sea of indecency?
Once again, life is starting to make no sense for the average secular Jew. American college campuses are becoming a hotbed for anti-Semitism under the new cloak of anti-Israel politics. Europe is also much more outspoken about its Jewish sentiment leaving Jews feeling insecure, fearful and wondering about who they are. Life is no fun if you’re scared about hiding your religion. Happiness is fleeting for those of us who are in doubt of our future and place in society.
What the heck is going on?
If I was to continue complaining about the plight of our generation I could write a new chapter every day, but that is not the goal. The point is, that from our worldly perspective life absolutely makes no sense. The values that society pushes on us are filled with flaws and contradictions. It is only because of G-d’s kindness that we can find our way out. It’s called the “Torah Perspective” and it’s the Operating System that helps us make sense of our daily experience.
You’re full of it, so empty your head
We are the problem but we also hold the solution. The Torah tells us that we received the Torah in the desert, a vast empty wilderness. Our Rabbi’s explain that in order to receive the Torah our minds need to be empty and void like the desert. How can the aloof and esoteric ideas of the Torah, which come from the highest realm, penetrate our lowly minds if they are totally filled with the idol worship of today’s philosophies and politics? The Torah was written before the world like a blueprint for the Creation. Our preconceived ideas of what we think life is about, need to be pushed aside for us to achieve the “Torah Perspective”.
This is the interesting part
How empty can you get? Do you believe in G-d? Where is the intelligence that keeps the eco-system running! What acumen keeps the universe spinning a thousand miles per hour through space without crashing? G-d must be pretty darn smart and He must absolutely and totally understand what He is doing. After all He made everything. So are you ready to receive G-d and His Torah? Here it is: If you don’t understand the circumstances of your life then it means that you don’t understand, but G-d and His Torah do understand. G-d controls everything and acts according to what is written in His Torah. If you want to make sense of your life then drop your preconceived fantasies and look at life through G-d’s eyes by understanding the values and systems handed down to us at Mount Sina.
So why is life so painful?
Life is perfect for its purpose. If you view life as an opportunity to come closer to G-d things start to make sense. You have to take total responsibility for your side, G-d will take care of the rest and happiness will follow. That is Judaism in a nutshell. If your kids are not going in the right path, do everything you can according to what the Torah has prescribed and know that results are not your business. Each child has its own soul with its own free will which has nothing to do with you. If you don’t have the excess money you feel you deserve, re-evaluate your goals. Do research on what diminishes one’s funds according to the Talmud and then correct yourself. The money will come. If not, thank G-d for creating such a tight relationship with you that it requires your prayers for every toll booth you pass through. If the Jew haters are in your face then ask the Torah why? Is it the desecration of Shabbos, intermarriage, a general lack of enthusiasm and appreciation for being Jewish? All these effects and their causes are clearly written in the Torah so why sit around depressed when you have the power to both change your perspective and act effectively.
It’s you and G-d and it’s great!
Don’t you see it’s all fair and square? G-d threw us the ball and lets us play in His game. We can’t see all the calculations producing the results but we can still play our part to the best of our abilities knowing that G-d loves us and creates a perfect situation for us to grow. In your life span you can only see a small sliver of time, Can you make the value judgments needed to understand what is happening now based on the deeds past generations or the needs of future generations. Maybe your friend is rich because his grandfather sanctified G-d’s name at hand of the Nazis, or his great grandfather helped the poor. Maybe your kids are not going the right way because one of your grandchildren needs to be tested as to whether he will come back to the true Torah way and in the future he will pass with flying colors!
You can find true peace through Torah living
Shavuot is a historic opportunity to accept upon ourselves Torah and mitzvoth. G-d gave us all the secrets for a successful and fulfilling life and it is available free for the taking. Don’t be misled by all the secular propaganda promising you the world yet stealing your happiness and derailing your life. You deserve to be at peace and content with your lot. You just need to play your part. Our responsibility is as deep as the sea and G-d’s love for us is as high as the heavens. The circumstances of your life and your relationship with G-d are in perfect balance. The equation is stunning and flawless. If you start to dance you will begin to hear the music. Come close to G-d and He will come close to you.
About Rabbi Mitterhoff
Orthodox Rabbi, Torah Educator & Podcaster. Get Inspiration for Personal Growth – Lessons from Authentic Judaism -The Ultimate Source for Spiritual Development
How we look matters to us, most of us, to be precise. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t happy with our own body image. The concern about body image stems mostly from peer pressure and social conditioning and the trigger, in almost all cases, is the weighing scale. How you react to your body also depends on the personality trait that you have. Unfortunately, people who are unhappy with their body experience mental health challenges and eating disorders. So, it is extremely important to be happy in your skin.
WHY ARE PEOPLE UNHAPPY WITH THEIR BODY IMAGE?
You are conditioned to believe from a very young age that your self-worth depends on your external features. For instance, being thin or muscular is linked with being successful and beautiful, while being fat is associated with being lazy and ugly. The depiction of thin women in the media or the enthusiasm with size zero also influence your body image and the reaction to it.
WAYS TO FEEL HAPPY ABOUT YOUR BODY
There is no harm in taking care of yourself and trying to get the body of your dreams. But the best way to direct your efforts towards this goal is start loving yourself and being comfortable in your skin. That’s the first step. Here is how you can start loving your body all over again.
Shift your focus towards what you like
Yes, it is very important. You need to remind yourself everything that you like about your body. This will help you replace the negative body image with a positive one.
Stop caring about your weight
Instead of focussing all your attention on your weighing scale, pay heed to the other indicators of health: Blood sugar, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, so on and so forth. When you choose a lifestyle that keeps these numbers right, you will end up losing weight. Also, go for a workout regimen that you enjoy. For example, you may love swimming and dancing over a gym session. Pursue it.
Stop comparing yourself with others
People have different body types and naturally everyone cannot be same. Therefore, instead of aspiring to be like someone try to be your personal best. Go for walks, try swimming, dancing or whatever makes you feel happy and energized.
Avoid body bashing friends
This is another significant step towards being positive about your body. Also, limit your activities on social media, another potential source of a negative body image. Smart tip: Consider avoiding TV commercials altogether.
Our minds are very conditional. We choose to be happy only if certain things (that we decided are good) happened. We don’t accept our life the way it is.
In other words, as soon as something that we don’t like happens, we are no longer happy.
Examples of non-acceptance can be found in huge numbers throughout our lives.
It can be something simple, like resistance to waiting for a table in the restaurant. Or getting upset when the waiter doesn’t bring what we ordered.
We all need to realize that we are the ones choosing to be upset, angry or to disapprove simply because we are rejecting what appears before our very own eyes.
That rejection or resistance is what is causing the experience of unhappiness.
From that, we can simply conclude that our happiness is directly proportional to our level of acceptance, or that our misery is proportional to our level of resistance.
Is it then possible to increase our level of happiness by increasing our level of acceptance?
This question is really worth asking, as in the answer lies a great liberation.
I have found that if I can somehow accept things more, I can be happy more.
And what does it take for us to accept things more?
It’s simply a decision that I am willing to make. The decision to let go of the resistance and negativity.
The only reason why we are not accepting things is because we have strong negative feelings towards them.
And if we manage to let go those negative feelings, we would no longer need to resist experiences that trigger them in the first place.
By letting go of the non-acceptance, our acceptance naturally shows up.
Our minds will keep telling us that the solution to our happiness is in trying to control as much of the life as possible can. We should strive to control all situations and predict (and be prepared) for all possible outcomes and directions. And I think we all realize in one level or another that having total and absolute control over life experiences is impossible.
There must be another answer.
In my experience, the answer was to start making myself less affected by my life experiences.
We have all experienced that some things simply don’t bother us in the same way every time they happen. We all have good days and we have bad days. Those “good” or “bad” days are directly linked to our level of acceptance. It has nothing to do with the day of the week.
This alone should point out that happiness is directly tied to our reaction to life experiences.
Next time you experience resistance or anger, simply decide that you will not be a slave to your emotions, and decide to let go of the underlying negative feelings instead.
There is no quick fix for this. It’s simply a coin you need to be dropping every day, until one day we wake up and realize there is nothing that needs to be dropped anymore.
Until that day comes, start simply by taking one step at a time in the right direction. Begin with accepting your life the way it is in this moment.