I live in Vancouver, Canada. If you have never been to Vancouver before, let me tell you, it can be frustrating sometimes… actually, quite often. I am not talking about the horrendous rents and mortgages here but something that is completely out of our control: the weather, of course. Informally known as Raincouver, with about 50% of rainy days each year and sudden snowfall in the winter, you just never know what you are going to get when you wake up in the morning in this city. I often tell others that I do not trust the weather forecast from my computer to the doorstep, as unpredictable as it can be. Some may call it “bad weather”. I for sure used to say the same, and I cannot deny the fact that I still occasionally fall victim to my own frustration.
As I woke up this morning and looked out of the window, a thin fresh blanket of snow had covered our streets over night. After lunch, I put on my winter gear and marched to my car that was covered in another 10 cm of snow already. I was frustrated, as I had thought the winter was long over with the few promising rays of sunlight and clear sky we were allowed to enjoy last weekend.
As I started wiping the snow off the windows, I asked myself, “What is my frustration good for? Does it change the weather in any way?” And then it dawned on me… Whatever happened to just accepting the things I cannot change? The same idea I have been promoting in dealing with toxic people for so long. A smile formed on my face, as I knew my winter gear would protect me from the wet and cold and I could safely remove the snow from the roof of my car with the tools available to me.
Let’s face it: toxic people are like the weather. Sometimes, they are hot, sometimes, they are cold. They can be predictable to a certain extend, but usually, chances are that they are not. They are ever-changing, but you cannot change them. As the Serenity Prayer above suggests, we need to accept the things we cannot change and learn that we can only change ourselves, our own perception, our response to the given circumstances, and how we can navigate around our problems.
So next time you find yourself in bad weather, figuratively or not, pause, accept the moment as it is, and ask yourself, what you can change that will help you navigate your problem. Or as Norwegians tend to say,…