Category Archives: Acceptance

Let go.

I get down, you perhaps get down, we all get down.

Sometimes though, getting down can feel less traumatic than it might. In my case this is often the result of not getting down about being down.

(This is starting to feel like one of those halls of mirrors where you see reflections of reflections of reflections.)

It’s when you get down about being down that things can spiral, well, down.

There seems to be a lot of sense instead in doing your darndest to simply accept that you’re not feeling so great.

It happens.

We may not always remember it, but we generally do have a choice about how we’ll react to life’s wobbles. And there are no prizes for guessing what happens when we choose to see things bleakly.

Perhaps you’ll have a perfect day today. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

But in the more likely event that at least something doesn’t quite go your way, why not see if you can choose to simply accept it rather than letting it get to you?

Although when things do go right, you have every right to feel good about feeling good.


I wonder if anyone is truly comfortable in their own skin?

It’s an odd phrase which describes, I guess, the idea that you’re happy with who you are. Perhaps also happy with the way you look.

And it’s all too easy to think ‘I’d be all right if only I weighed a bit less, or didn’t get so anxious, or didn’t suffer from low moods’.

The thing is, there are some things you can change, but others you can’t.

No matter how hard you might try.

No matter how much you’d like them to change.

It’s over stuff like this that I’m sure it helps to practise acceptance. To take them as they are, and to build from this foundation rather than wishing and praying for change that’s unlikely to happen.

By all means plan, expect and work towards changing those things that you can and probably should re-jig.

But maybe it makes sense to simply accept with good grace those that you can’t?

A lesson from the West Lawn.

They say that polite conversation should avoid sex, religion, and politics.

I trust we can include Moodnudges in the polite conversation category.

However, there’s just no getting away from the fact that, depending on when you read this, it’s either only a few hours until the 45th US President will be taking the oath of office, or it will all be over.

To be honest, California isn’t exactly teeming with Donald Trump supporters, part of which is explained by the fact that this part of the US has long been referred to as the Left Coast.

California traditionally votes Democrat.

But in the spirit of polite conversation, all I’d like to say on the matter is that once the election had taken place back in November, the fact that Mr. Trump was going to be in the White House was a done deal.

Some may not like it, but unless you’re a political activist, there’s frankly not a whole lot you can do about it other than accept it.

And isn’t there a parallel in general life with this?

I’m guessing that there may be certain things in your own life, as there are in mine, that aren’t entirely ideal.

There may be matters that you and I might wish were otherwise.

But although we may have the power to change some (and often, we do actually have more influence over more things than we may sometimes believe), there are probably others over which we have little control.

I think this is where practicing acceptance comes in, summed up nicely in what’s known as 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.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

There’s a new President. Let’s get on, shall we?

By the way, I should recognise that since I’ve now brought up politics and religion, I’d better sign off before I break all three rules.

That would be bonkers.

If you’re Kermit, it makes sense to accept being green.

Kermit had a point when he grumbled that it’s not easy being green.

His argument was that being green made him blend in with so many things, which sort of ignores the evolutionary benefits of camouflage, but we do get what he meant.

The big thing, of course, is that Kermit was, is, and always will be green.

You’re a frog for goodness’ sake, man.


It’s easy to believe that things would be different for you if they weren’t as they are.

You’d be happier if you did this or that.

You’d be better off if things were different.

You’d be more content if only, if only.

Sometimes, of course, change is possible.

But only sometimes.

So if you can’t change something, isn’t it better to simply accept it?

If you’re a frog, you’re green, and that’s the way it’s always going to be.

Surely only a muppet could disagree with that?

If just one flower wilts, don’t discard the whole vase.

A while ago I spoke to Ali, a friend who has an intriguing take on things.

Like a lot of people, Ali loves having a vase of flowers in her home.

She told me:

‘If there are seven in the vase and one dies, I take it out and throw it away so I can carry on enjoying the other six.’

‘I wouldn’t throw away the whole bunch because one was ruined, would I?’

‘In the same way, if I have a bad day I write it off as a failure at the end, but I don’t give up on the rest of the week.’

‘That would be like throwing out all seven flowers at once, wouldn’t it?’

What a lovely suggestion.


When something (or some day) goes wrong, there can be a tendency to catastrophise, to assume that the whole house of cards is crashing down, when in reality the damage is generally only limited.

Too right Ali.

Better a vase six-sevenths full, rather than an empty one.

If you can’t change it, accept it. Perhaps even celebrate it.

Can you change the colour of your skin?

Tanning booths aside, nope.

Can you add six inches to your height?

Not really, no.

Could you lose a few pounds?

Possibly, but not overnight.

There are things about our physical selves that we accept.

They’re who we are, and how we look.


So why then do some of us (including me) wish we could be different in other ways?

We may pray that one day we’ll wake up permanently happy, or less anxious, or more sure of ourselves.

The thing is, that’s generally not going to happen.

Sure, you can work on your mind in the same way that you can on your body, but on the whole you’re probably who you are, you know: you’re probably not going to change that much.

Years of mood-tracking has shown me that I’ll always have rougher times alongside my better ones.

Knowing this and accepting it were two different things, though.

However, it helps hugely – it really does – to be able to declare that you are who you are: there’s a lot to be said for this.

This may not be the best day of your life, but you almost certainly have the power to make it better than it might have been.

There’s the distinct possibility that today could be a perfect one for you.

How very lovely that would be.

Perfect days, however, tend to be few and far between. And far be it from me to rain on your parade but let’s face it, isn’t it more likely that this will be an average kind of day? Perhaps even a less-than-average one?


There are those who exhort us to spring out of bed every morning, determined that this will be the best day of our lives.

I’m sure it helps to keep a positive mind-set, if you can.

However I also think it pays to be realistic.

If you’ve had perfect (or almost-perfect) days in the past, you’re pretty certain to have them again in the future.

But not necessarily right here, right now.

So go ahead with your eyes open and make the most of what the day throws at you, remembering that within limits you still have a good deal of control over how you’ll feel at the end of it.

How to be… yourself

The predictive searching gizmo on Google is a revealing way to learn what other people think, as its suggested searches are based on what they’ve been looking for.

For instance, when I typed in ‘how to be’ just now, it informed me that the top four most common requests are: How to be happy, How to be pretty, How to be funny, and How to be good kisser. (On that last one, the top site returned suggests that it all starts with looking after your lips. Make a note: buy lip balm.)


The thing is, and it’s confirmed by the large number of volumes you’ll find in the Self-Help section of a bookstore or library, it seems we all want to be something we’re not. We’re unhappy so we want to be happy (understandably). We think we’re not pretty, so we want to be more attractive. We’re a bit serious so want to be funny. Or we worry we’re not a great kisser so we want to discover what we’ve been doing wrong.

I guess self-improvement is a natural human drive, but it’s a crying shame when this interferes with being comfortable with yourself.

Your life has made you the individual you are. It has shaped and moulded you, and there’s no-one on the planet who’s exactly like you: surely something to celebrate rather than regret?

Rather than wishing you were somehow different, why not tackle the day being glad that you’re you?

As Oscar Wilde said: ‘Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.’

Why everything takes twice as long, and is twice as expensive.

I watched a fascinating talk at Stanford last week, by the CEO of a start-up company called Strivr which is using virtual reality (hence the last two letters of its name) to train football players when they’re not actually on the field.

Players wear VR goggles and are suddenly in the midst of a game.

Apparently the effect is uncannily realistic, and Strivr is certainly doing good business, by all accounts.

One big takeaway for me was the CEO’s remark that in business everything always takes twice as long as you think it will take, and costs twice as much.


Funnily enough, I think something similar is going on with some concreting that’s happening near where I live.

I was told it would take about 10 days, but it’s now looking as if it will be more like three weeks.

And then of course there’s my book.

At the end of January I giddily said I’d have it published by the time February was out.

But of course, here we are – April – and I’m still not quite there.

(It’s getting pretty close now, though. I received the third proof yesterday, and once it’s been thoroughly checked, we should be able to give it the green light any day now.)

It seems to me that this “always taking longer than you thought” thing seems to be pretty pervasive in life.

Perhaps it applies to recovery from low mood, too?

Years of tracking mine have shown me that the way down can sometimes be quick and sudden, but the process of getting back up again often takes more time than you’d like.

I don’t think you can force it, but you can probably gently encourage the transition by building in small “nudges” every day, which is one of the principles behind my book, of course.

Today’s tip then?

Accept that recovery will take its time, but also reassure yourself that change is just about inevitable.

In time even the darkest clouds make way for the sun.

Why you’re absolutely, positively, categorically great, just as you are

I wouldn’t embarrass them by naming them, but throughout my life there have been people I knew who I’d have given anything to have been more like.

Some were more successful academically.

Some were funnier.

Some seemed more popular.

Some had more good fortune in the romance department.


In fact, once I start it seems as if I could write a very long list of those who were more creative, more musically-gifted, more athletic, more confident.

On the face of it, these could be the words of someone with low self-esteem.

Actually, however, I’m pretty certain I wasn’t that different from most people.

I suspect it’s simply human nature to compare and contrast yourself with others, and to see qualities in them that you wish you possessed.

Of course, an attitude such as this tends to ignore the fact that you’re certain to have skills, talents and abilities that others admire.

And taken to extremes it suggests that you aspire to a world in which everyone’s great, but everyone’s the same.

What a dull old place that would be, however.

Surely it’s the fact that we’re all different to some degree that makes life so rich?

Aren’t you glad you’re an individual rather than just another member of a bland crowd?

In a car park full of monochrome silver/grey/black/white vehicles, wouldn’t it actually be rather nice to be the bright yellow model that stands out brightly?

It’s easier to believe that everything would be better if only you could be more like (insert name).

Almost certainly, however, it wouldn’t.

Almost certainly this person has their own set of difficulties of which you know nothing.

Isn’t it better to accept who you are?

And isn’t it EVEN better to celebrate your individuality?