There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

One of the greatest sources of unhappiness is the inability to accept things as they are. Accepting what is, without wishing things were different, can trip up even the most serene among us. And yet, accepting what is is the key to living a positive, present life.

Accepting what is, like so many things, is about living in the moment. It’s about looking at the present moment without judgment. In order to live in the moment, you have to be willing to look at this present moment and say “this is what is real right now.”

Does this mean you shouldn’t want things to change? Not at all. But if you want things to change, it should be because you enjoy the process of change, not because you can’t accept the present moment. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things to be different. It’s about finding a balance between accepting things as they are right now, and looking forward to what’s happening next, without attachment.

Easier said than done, I know. Of course, cats already know how to do this – they’re masters at living in the moment, and at accepting the present moment. Okay, they may get a little impatient when it gets close to feeding time, and they might prefer to have the food appear a little sooner than it does, but they’re not going to get themselves tied in knots over the fact that the food is not in front of them right this very minute.

The following suggestions will help you accept what is, and help you stay in the moment:

  • Breathe. Taking a few deep breaths anchors you in the moment and calms the mind.
  • Acknowledge negative emotions. You can’t force feelings to go away. The simple act of acknowledging frustration, anger or sadness reduces the power of the negative emotion, and makes it easier to let it go.
  • Stop using phrases such as “if only I had,” “I should,” “it would be better if.” They keep you stuck and move you further away from acceptance. It requires mental discipline to stop negative self talk, but it’s also a very powerful technique.
  • Realize that the only thing you can control is yourself and your reactions. I’ve always liked this quote by Victor E. Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Utilize that space to accept what is.
  • Practice gratitude. Once you’ve acknowledged what is, negative emotions and all, find something to be grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful energy shifter.

Embrace the present moment and accept it without judgment. Acceptance will bring you clarity and the ability to move forward toward happiness. And when all else fails, look to your cats for clues on how to live in the moment.

12 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: Accept What Is

  1. I totally agree… When I was battling depression a few years ago I read a card that said everything I needed to know I learnt from my cat… I started doing these things…living ” like a cat” in ways…I ate when I was hungry…slept when I was tired…napped if I needed it…sought hugs and attention when I felt lonely… Ignored those people in my Life that p****ed me off… I surrounded myself with like minded ” cats” like me ( true freinds who understood me)…and of course I cuddled up frequently with my beautiful girl cat Nambucca alot…i leant to sometimes just sit and be…kust let Life go on around you… I simplified my Life… Until I felt in better control of it…then I went back to living Life with all its craziness….

    • What a lovely testament to how living like a cat helped you cope with depression, Kay. Just don’t let the craziness of life drag you down again!

  2. Thank you Ingrid. A much needed reminder for what I know to practice…but you know, forget to. Victor Frankel’s quote hit home. “Between stimulus and response is space.” This space is ours to choose how to respond, & choice in turn, leads to growth & freedom! I am accepting “what is” will not change. So I am choosing to “let-go.” A difficult choice. But earlier, I knew this was a way to my Peace. And Peace is Freedom & Growth for me. A beautiful “Conscious Cat Sunday” to all!

  3. Okay Ingrid, have you been talking to Mark? ha!
    You’ve hit the nail on the head once again….this is something that I work on daily….Mark would say I’m “wallowing” in it, but I am trying! Thanks for the suggestions….between you and Abby I’ll get there!!

  4. Great minds again! Only this time it is with you and Dakota’s blog…(about being grateful)

    These two points that you made particularly resonated with me:
    Stop using phrases such as “if only I had,” “I should,” “it would be better if.”

    AND THE BIGGIE!! “Realize that the only thing you can control is yourself and your reactions. ”

    Absolutely LOVED this warm, sensitive and insightful post!

  5. Another thought-provoking post, Ingrid. And I love the Frankl quote. If only we could remember to use our cats (and other animals!) as role models, what a different world this could/would be!

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