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If you can’t beat them…

There’s nothing I hate more than noisy neighbours, people who smoke within a one hundred metre radius of my pristine being, and my mother.

Yet more and more I am realising that unless I resort to drastic measures (like, I dunno, poisoning a few thousand people or running off to the Outer Hebrides), I am never going to be free of these abhorrent indignations.

My only option: stop trying to annihilate them and accept them as they are.


Whether something bothers us or not is up to us. You must have noticed times when something has bothered you but not someone else, and vice versa. Why does something bother one person and not another? Usually it’s because we perceive the bothersome thing as a challenge to what we value most. And these values exist in a hierarchy fingerprint unique to each of us.

Hence when my neighbours are noisy or smoking, it challenges my high value on my beautiful, tranquil home and irritates the shit out of me. And what’s more annoying is that despite my efforts, they continue to do it. So I have only one option…

Acceptance can be as straightforward as a simple decision. Or you might need a little nudge (remember, resistance is futile). That nudge can be in the form trying your bestest [sic] to of think of all the gifts this blight is giving you; all the hidden blessings; the yang to its yin, the positive to its negative. Because everything in nature exists in a perfect balance of positive and negative, not matter how hard we might try to defy it.

Keep looking for all the ways in which it is helping you, everything it’s giving you until it’s neutral and ceases to bother you. I’m not asking you to like it or see it as a good thing — but as it is, which is neither good nor bad.

The same goes for long term health conditions. The more we resist them, the more we suffer. But as soon as we accept them, see their purpose in our life, everything changes and our suffering diminishes. Your body may never go back to how it was before but its new form is all you have so you might as well accept it.

Remember the Serenity Prayer? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” There might be some crazy notions in religion but this isn’t one of them.

So if you can’t change it, your best option is to accept it (or don’t, and let it destroy you).

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