Worry(LowRes)Acceptance is the answer, still. I was reminded yet again this week, of the importance of bringing acceptance into our lives. Without it, recovery escapes us.

As a client rehearsed to me his struggles with his relationship to his wife, it became very clear to me that his struggle was not with his wife, but with his own acceptance of  her and her personality. (In other words it was not about her, but about his stuff.)

In AA’s Big Book Chapter, “Acceptance was the Answer,” the writer states, “when I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation-some fact of my life-unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

John kept describing how irritating his wife’s behaviors were. “She takes 2 hours to get dressed to go to a restaurant. She’ll put on 4 pairs of pants and look in the mirror. She puts on several pairs of shoes and looks at herself in the mirror. Why can’t she just get dressed and go.”

So for this two-hour time. John is seething. He’s getting more upset by the minute at what he views as a silly delay. He finds himself frustrated, angry, bewildered and a host of other things that not only destroy serenity, but are not very helpful attitudes in our spousal relationships.

The situation was unacceptable to John. It angered him. It led to a very unpleasant evening, and hurt feelings on the part of his spouse. Not because she did anything that harmed him, but because he allowed himself to be upset by it.

So many of our frustrations, resentments, so much of our anger, comes from our inability to accept what is going on around us. And the most interesting part, is that it’s usually over very silly stuff.