It is convenient when things go according to our plan. It becomes easy to maintain a positive outlook, and we typically don’t worry about trying to exert control over a situation or person when things are going well. However, life does not always unfold as planned. It can be frustrating when plans are changed at a moment’s notice or the outcome of a situation is different than what we expected. As painful as this experience may be, occurrences such as these are an opportunity for growth and expansion. When we find that we are distressed, it is best to stop, breathe, and try to understand what the presented challenge is capable of teaching us.

Recently, I received some unsettling news while on my way to work. I quickly became upset and allowed the chorus in my head to start sounding off about the many inconveniences I would have to deal with moving forward. I felt frustration manifesting in my chest in the form of a rapid heartbeat. In this moment, I had to remind myself that even though something may not be working out the way I had expected it to, it’s okay. I allowed myself to surrender to the circumstances. I assign meaning to every experience in my life—negative or positive in nature—and find that it is easier to accept each experience for what it is.

As I was driving in my car, I had to say out loud, “I surrender. While I may not understand why things are happening in this way, I accept that this is how it is supposed to be.” Fortunately, doing this alleviated some of the irritation that was amounting inside of me. Radical acceptance—accepting life on life’s terms—is one of the tools that I keep handy in my toolbox because it allows me to stay level (rather than going off on a tangent of negative thoughts). When my feelings start to carry me away, I practice coming back to the present moment; reminding myself that everything is exactly how it is supposed to be.

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