Over the last few weeks I’ve talked about self acceptance and acceptance of others and today I want to talk about acceptance of life, or Amor Fati.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
— Lao Tzu
What does it mean to accept fate?
It means that we learn to be at the very least accepting of every thing that life brings our way. We don’t have to love it, but we need to accept it.
Why is it so hard to accept fate? Why do we resist so much?
We want to have control over our lives. We have expectations that life should be a certain way. That people should act a certain way. We want things to just be the way that we want. There is so little that we have actual control over: our thinking, our judgements, and actions and choices. If we are constantly complaining about or wishing that things would be different than they are, then we are wasting energy on things we can’t control. Then we spend our lives feeling resentful over things that we don’t have control over. We’re constantly unhappy that life doesn’t measure up to our expectations.
Why should we accept life fate?
To do otherwise is actually foolish because it’s simply denying reality.
To complain is always nonacceptance of what is.
— Eckhart Tolle
You never know what life is going to bring your way. You may think that you want your life to be a certain way, but end up somewhere far different. Maybe that broken heart today is what leads you to a healthier relationship in the future.
Zeno, the founder of stoicism was in a shipwreck where he lost all of his cargo for his business. It ruined him financially, but it was through that loss that he came across the teachings of Socrates and other philosophers and eventually went on to found stoicism.
I made a prosperous voyage when I was shipwrecked.
-Zeno of Citium
We are also able to stay more present because we are less worried about what will happen in the future because we recognize how little control we have over the outcome.
We can focus on the process of whatever we’re doing, and let the outcome be what it will be.
When we let go of that we can just deal with life exactly as it is. We can be curious and excited to see what happens next.
Is acceptance the same as acquiescence?
No. Acceptance is just acknowledging reality.
It does not mean that we simply throw our hands up in the air and do nothing.
It means that we accept reality for what it is, then we look at what choices we have in the circumstances that we find ourselves in.
How can we learn to love fate?
At the very least, leant to accept. This helps free your mind from worry about things you can’t control.
Accept how little control we have over every thing.
Develop gratitude that life is exactly the way that it is supposed to be.
Embrace what life sends your way. Someone breaks your heart, now you have a chance to take what you learned into the next relationship. If your house burns down, you now have a chance to downsize and start over fresh.
How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.
— Marcus Aurelius
Think back on past things that may have been painful and find ways to accept those. We often feel regret over things that happened in the past and have a hard time letting go of feelings even though we can no longer change them. We can look back at those regrets and see that those regrets help shape us. Regret reminds us of choices we made that led to an outcome we were unsatisfied with. It’s a reminder to think longer and make different choices when faced with something similar in the future.
Once I grasped this whole concept acceptance, a quote by Epictetus that had long perplexed me started to make sense:
“An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself.”
When we just accept that things are going to happen as they will, we worry less about mistakes and blame. Mistakes, as they are generally thought of, are really just missed expectations. We recognize we can't control the outcome of anything, only the effort that we put into the process. The outcome will be what it will be. Blaming someone else or ourselves is to blame someone for missed expectations, for what we thought it should be, rather than accepting and dealing with things as they are.