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What Fixing a Tap Taught Me About Acceptance

· Insights,Attention

Way back in March, before lock-down in the UK, I was living in my camper van. It was all going well except the water tap at the sink stopped working. Despite a full tank of water none would come out of the tap. For the last few days of my nomadic lifestyle before moving into a house I had to manage with bottled water.

Now it is nearly time to be back on the road I decided I really must sort it out. Over the past few months, I have been researching what might be the issue with it, I've half-halfheartedly tried a few things out but each time got frustrated and given up. I did get as far as ordering a replacement pump as it seemed quite likely that might be the issue.

Well, yesterday was The Day. I decided I really had to sort it out. There were so many things I didn't know or didn't understand. But what I notice now is that I had accepted that there was a problem and I needed to sort it out, one way or another. There was no use blaming someone else. The person who sold me the van - he should have known it was going to stop working, or VW, it was their fault, it shouldn't have happened, or, let me see, who else could I find to blame...

I do know I am very capable so I got on with trying to work out how to fix it. It was frustrating, annoying, and difficult. I couldn't undo the lid of the water tank. I didn't know what I was looking at with the microswitch. The fuse diagram was clearly not the one for my van. The grommet was far too tight to get the wires through. On, and on.. Nothing was straightforward. But, I stuck at it. Yes, I am human and did say a few rude words along the way. Had a call with my son to vent a little more, and get advice. And at one point Murdock decided to go walkabout in the hope of finding a more serene atmosphere.

Finally, after what seems liked many hours, but was just two, I had success. I had done it. The tap worked again. Water flowed beautifully.

What did I learn? Well, I realised that acceptance of all of it really did work in my favour. Each time I was able to accept 'this is how it is', I could work out my next step and make a little more progress towards resolution. I wasn't happy about it but by being angry or blaming someone else it wouldn't actually change what needed to be done, and all it would do would be to use up my limited energy, which was far better applied to solving the problem.

It made me wonder how this plays out in other areas of life. We get overwhelmed, something is too hard, we blame others. And, then. We are stuck in a place of anger, resentment, frustration or blame (or a juicy combination of them all). Fighting against how it is doesn't make it any better, doesn't change anything.

How might it be if instead of blame we practiced acceptance? "Okay, this isn't what I want, I am not happy about it, but what can I do to change it now?" What small step is it possible to take to begin to change things for the better? And, after that one step, what's the next one, and the next?

Can you relate to this? Does it make you think of anything in your world where instead of blame, or making someone else wrong, you might try acceptance and ask 'what can I do now that will make a difference?'

Just to be clear, 'acceptance' does NOT mean that you agree, forgive or that it doesn't matter to you. It means you are willing to tolerate a difficult situation, and in doing so you can apply your energy to a resolution rather than a fight.

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