Lynn Knight tells it straight: “Life is bound to hand you crap, it’s inevitable, accept it. Life will not negotiate with you, either— because it’s not designed to and it doesn’t have to — nothing personal” So when the inevitable happens, how should you react? These are the 5 things we learned from her write up.
1 Don’t fight the tide
There’s an old saying which advises us to ‘live life on life’s terms’. In so many words, it promises if we ‘go with the flow’ we’ll be happier, or, at least, we’ll get a little less beaten up when life goes off script.
I’m sure there’s probably a hundred more axioms for this pivotal gem of wisdom but they’ll all dump us somewhere in the vicinity of the same pool of a contented, reasonably happy existence, if we can simply stop grasping at what we think “should be” and let life direct us to the isle of accepting “what is”. It’s not something one learns without swallowing a lot of river water.
I’m reminded of Captain Jean Luc Picard’s (whom I’ve harboured a hetro-crush on for years) ominous advice after being handily abducted from the bridge of his ship by the Borg. Having been made the Borg’s man-bitch by Locutus, Picard delivers the bad news to №1.
“Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over…”
Who could hear that without clenching their butt cheeks, eh? However, Riker gives a slight toss of his chin in response, as if to say, we’ll see…Borg, we’ll see…
2. Resistance is counter productive
I’m with Will Riker, I’m bound to put up a fight but alas, I don’t live on the USS Enterprise, this is not Hollywood and every time I resist the flow of life I get my butt kicked but good!
Unfortunately for me, instead of going with the flow, when life gets hard I’m more inclined to demand and direct it in a futile attempt to control what cannot be so addressed. It’s a knee jerk and instinctual set point, and one day I’d like to be able to dispense with these optional beatings and simply surrender to life on life’s terms.
Resistance wears me out. By five or six o’clock in the evening I start daydreaming about bedtime and the effervescent moment of relief due me when I fall into the bed, pull the covers over my head and tumble into a dreamless sleep.
Don’t put on your pity party hat for me just yet
Somewhere along the way I usually wake up to my folly. Outgrowing my childish expectations that life should always be easy and I should be happy every day of mine, as if I’m a forest faerie riding a unicorn through a secret passage to and from Nirvana. Adopting an attitude of accepting ‘what is’ has helped me to understand when and where I need to row my ass off and when I need to surrender, let go and ride the currents.
3. Negotiating with life gives you an edge
Life is designed to move, with or without us
When we remove ourselves from the flow by digging into our resistance, in this way we opt to stand still. In the river of life, we’ll become like the bedrock gouged, smoothed and finally hollowed by the ever-flowing current moving over and around us. It might seem tempting to become a beautifully carved fixture but we will also become stagnate, moss-covered artefacts left behind, even to ourselves.
Negotiating or bargaining with life is like kidnapping happiness then handing life a ransom note detailing a list of our demands. Remember, life doesn’t negotiate, so odds are it’s not going to end well for us or happiness, I guarantee it.
I’ve often asked myself, “Why not simply let go and see where the currents will take me?” I’m sort of an adrenaline hound so, maybe it’ll be like riding a barrel over a waterfall. If I can manage my fear of the unknown and find a way to trust life then, I’m bound to be well-engaged and enthralled by its unfolding, even when the ride gets rough. However, so often our first inclination is to hold fast to the edge of what we know or think we can control. The status quo, as it turns out, is highly overrated.
Bottom line? Better to navigate when you’re in a storm
4. Negotiating with life will bring out hidden potential
Negotiating with life is a lot like confronting the little man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. Life has a way of both showing us what we’re made of and what we’re lacking. A heart? A brain? Courage? Flexibility? Ultimately, the Wizard didn’t give these characters anything they didn’t already possess the potential for having, all because they had already navigated their way through the wicked twists and turns the old witch, i.e. life, could throw at them. Unbeknownst to them, they were actually building character simply by navigating instead of negotiating and demanding things go their way.
5. Acceptance is the only way
I used to think there was a place for negotiating…but there really isn’t any middle ground when we’re talking about acceptance, we either accept what is or we don’t. If we accept what is, we are free to adapt and navigate within the current, be it a tiny squall or a sh*t storm. But, if we decide to resist what life hands us, we must be prepared to accept responsibility for our resistance and grab our rowing paddles because we’ll be pushing against a stronger current as life floods in with the lessons we’ve been calling forth, anyway.
I’ll leave you with this parting thought: The shortest distance between me and a bad attitude is to drive an expectation to the party.
This article was culled from Medium.com