Awful circumstances force people to admit that total control is an illusion. When this happens people get angry, sad, frustrated, etc. You do not have to have a stroke to struggle with accepting you cannot control everything that happens to you and the people you love.
As a stroke survivor my goal is not to achieve total acceptance. Even after 13 years there are still new challenges that make me angry or sad. My goal is to reduce the amount of time I am angry or sad. Here is what I try to remember when acceptance flies out the window. Cognitive therapy says the one thing we have control over is our thoughts. When my emotional response to a situation makes me suffer, I eventually remember that how I interpret what happens to me
is what creates the emotions I feel.
Fortunately, cognitive strategies are not necessary when I have a meaningful goal that gives me a sense of purpose and a list of things to do. I am happy right now because it is a busy time for me as the Treasurer of my Home Owners Association. I am happy because my presentation has been accepted for the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association annual convention. I am busy working on my Power Point presentation. This also means I can visit my family in Illinois before I go home to New Jersey. If only acceptance of the life I have was always so easy.