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Stop Arguing with Reality

Feb 19, 2024

Violet (not her real name) is one of my good friends. Even though we live in different cities, we chat on a regular basis. In the most recent call, I asked what went well with her.

She answered by saying that she felt hopeful. Then she revealed that recently she felt a lump on her breast. She underwent a biopsy and the pathology came back to be cancer. She was in the middle of getting further evaluation.

The reason Violet felt hopeful was because she was focusing on the fact that the cancer was detected early and she was focusing on a cure. She did not dwell on asking why the cancer happened to her.

Violet is in her 40s and leads a healthy lifestyle. She has no family history of breast cancer. Her last mammogram was about 15 months ago. Although in the back of her mind, she thought that her cancer would have been detected sooner had she gone to her screening mammogram 3 months sooner, she was not mad at herself.

Accepting what has happened that you cannot change is the first step toward focusing on what you can change. Violet cannot change the fact that she has breast cancer, and she has the power to choose how to face it. Instead of dwelling in woe is me, why did this happen to me kind of thinking, she chooses to move on. She accepted the fact that she has breast cancer. Accepting does not mean that she likes the outcome, it just means that she is allowing the fact to sink in and allowing herself to move on. She could have chosen to be angry because cancer “should not have” happened to her.

We all have ideas of certain things, including believing certain things should happen a certain way. When something happens a different way than expected, it is easy to be angry or frustrated about it.

If Violet were to argue the fact that she was diagnosed with cancer, would it have helped her in any way?

By arguing with reality, with what has happened, you are not changing that fact. You are only making yourself worked up on something you have no power to change. You cannot go back time to alter anything. The “should have” and “could have” were wishful thinking that has no bearing on how the future holds. You will only be angry at the situation, trying to avoid it and trying to push it away – while it has happened already. The best thing to do is to focus in the forward direction.

When you accept what has happened and what cannot be changed, you have more capacity to look for solutions to the problem, or things you can change. You then do not look for ways to go back to change what you cannot change. Acceptance also decreases stress and tension in your life, because you are not wasting your physical or emotional reserve to a lost cause.

Be in the present to accept what is in the present. If you are not satisfied with what is happening, figure out and analyze the situation. What can be done to improve the situation? Is this something that you want make a drastic change?

Without accepting the current reality, you are operating in some mode of anger, frustration, stress and anxiety. Using those emotions as your fuel wears you down and drains you emotionally. In turn, you are getting more unpleasant feelings because of it.

When you accept your reality, you let things be without questioning why things happened a certain way. You then can focus on being curious and hopeful about what you can do to make things better, or to direct the current situation into a different direction. The emotions of curiosity, hope, kindness and love are likely the examples of the energy you are using in this situation. These pleasant emotions are more sustainable, and you get to be more creative than you think.

As Byron Katie says, “When you argue with reality, you always lose – but only 100% of the time.”

Accepting your reality does not mean you are doing nothing about your situation. It only means that you are saying to yourself, this happened. Okay. What are some things I can do about it? Your mind is more focused on the solution rather than on things you cannot change.

There are always things you can control and things you cannot control. By concentrating on things you can control, you have more mental capacity and more energy to look for solutions and to take action.

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


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