A lot of people say to me: “Tara, you are a strong woman” and I have always wondered what they mean.
By strong, I guess they mean my ability to go through things and still keep my sanity, to laugh in and at my circumstances.
I have been in this world for more than four decades and now marching close to the fifth and I can confirm that this life is strange, very unpredictable and can deal so many unforeseen and terrible blows.
There are things that happen to us that we cannot do anything about, because they have happened. e.g a spouse leaving the marriage and moving out, a rape, physical abuse and assault, a terminal sickness, death or an addiction or mental illness of a loved one.
How we deal with life’s events is very important. A lot of times we are unable to face our realities and so we tell ourselves lies, and like the ostrich, we bury our heads in the sand in the hope that whatever we are faced with will go away.
That’s why a woman will find a lump in her breast and ignore it then do absolutely nothing.
A man will feel unwell, have pain in parts of his body and just “man up”.
A parent will discover that their child has a drug or alcohol addiction and “reject” it.
A woman will keep waiting for a man that has left the marriage and moved on blaming “the strange woman” or her “in-laws”.
“It is not my portion” is a statement we mouth and it has become not only a statement but an attitude and so many times it’s an attitude of denial. Today I have come to tell you that in accepting my realities I have found strength to deal with them.
By acceptance, I mean the ability to face my problem, to be honest to and with myself, to admit that whatever it is, has happened. It means not living in self denial, it means not making excuses for myself and especially for someone else, it means looking at things dispassionately, it means finding redemption in facing the truth.
There are some situations we can’t begin to fight, correct or redeem until we accept their truth. We can’t beat an enemy that is before us if we refuse to acknowledge it’s presence.
Please don’t misunderstand me, acceptance is not resignation, it is not living life as if we have no options, it doesn’t mean we should take whatever happens to us without resistance, it doesn’t mean not fighting back.
I remember when Mr Aisi was diagnosed with cancer of the blood, immediately the doctor explained his test results and the options available, we started the treatment process.
He was in great pain and it was an undeniable fact that he was ill. In spite of our beliefs and feelings, it was time to admit that there was something wrong and to look for a solution to right the wrong.
Also when efforts to resuscitate him after 2 hours had failed I faced the fact that he was dead and wasn’t going back home with me even though I had prayed all through the resuscitation period. I knew when to throw in the towel and accept the verdict.
Our troubles will not go away because we ignore them neither will they go away when we accept them but accepting their existence opens our minds to searching for solutions. We may take as much time as we need to accept our circumstances but accept them we must. Infact, some realities intrude into our space and insist on being acknowledged and accepted whether we want to or not.
Realities such as death, a mentally or physically challenged child, sickness or even the end of a marriage.
Acceptance enables us to look beyond the event, to plan our future, confront our fears and know exactly where we stand. It helps us to take matters in our stride and move on, it helps us acknowledge there are things we cannot change and move on to those we can.
I am a woman of faith and faith doesn’t deny the existence of the obvious facts rather, it acknowledges the fact or reality but acts based on the things that are not yet visible but are true. The fact is, there are some things we can’t change no matter how hard we try, our only recourse, therefore, is to accept them and make the best of our situation and circumstances and the earlier we do so the better for us.
So it’s time to accept that – that child, spouse, parent is dead and wouldn’t be coming back; that marriage is dead and to move on with your life; that child is ill and to look for help; that lump is real and needs to be taken out or that child has learning disabilities and needs specialized care.
Accepting our realities is a great gift when we have the right attitude.