In these past few days we’ve discussed a few strategies that help us avoiding living as contemptuous people. One is seeking out both a skilled therapist and a trusted spiritual advisor or mentor or whatever word you want to use. This helps us deal with the source(s) of our contempt. The second thing we did was attempt to reframe how we perceive other people’s lives. Contempt can be the product of comparing what we have to what other people have. The reality is, we have no clue what other people have or do not have in their lives. And so, comparisons are foolish, though we can’t help but do it, can we? It’s only natural, even though we know it isn’t particularly good for us.
The third “strategy” (if you can call it that) I want to mention is acceptance. What do I mean by acceptance? I personally think that acceptance is a rather expansive, multifaceted topic and I plan to take a few days to address just a few of the many ingredients that lead to acceptance. I’m surely going to leave some things out. I’m going to give you my list in no particular order as I have no idea how to rate the importance of each of these aspects of acceptance. I’ll unpack these over the coming days so, if the sentences are not immediately clear, they soon will be (I think).
Without further ado, here are my elements of acceptance:
The willingness to live within the boundaries of life’s natural constraints
The willingness to tolerate tragedy (in both a global and personal sense) without trying to pinpoint its source
The willingness to resist idealizing alternative ways in which life “might” have gone
The willingness to trust that, on the aggregate, God steers creation in a hopeful direction