I mentioned in my last post that the engine in my 2000 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck was no more. To sum up briefly what happened, I believe I had some type of coolant leak, as my temperature gauge never went into the danger zone and thick, white smoke spewed from my tailpipe. In an effort to save money on a towing bill, I thought I could get it to a garage on its own. The engine died on me, and it hasn’t restarted since. My mechanic said I likely burned out the engine.

As much as I want to blame the coolant leak, the hard fact of the matter keeps staring me in the face: You drove the truck too hot for too long, and you ruined the engine. There really isn’t any way around it. What happened was my own fault. In reality, a lot of things lately have been my fault, whether I purposefully did them or not, and to stretch this reasoning even further, plenty of other happenings in my life can be pinned directly to me as well. I’m not talking about being blamed unfairly for something or incorrectly assuming guilt for something I couldn’t control. I mean instances where the blame is undeniably and wholly on me.

As I’m sure many people would, I have spent hour upon hour, day upon day, week upon week, month upon month, radicalacceptanceyear upon year endlessly beating myself up for these things. I’ve always been hard on myself in this way, and I guess I always sort of assumed I should be. If it’s your fault, you own up to it, and you had better darn well act like it bothered you so others would know you took it seriously. So I chucked bats and batting helmets, cursed myself out loud, hit walls, hung my head, and did every other thing I could to make sure I and everyone else knew that I knew this was a big deal.

The only problem was I couldn’t let anything go. Still can’t, really. I really liked that truck, and it only had around 134,000 miles on it. I keep trying to think of some kind of miracle cure no one has considered yet. Beyond that, though, I also couldn’t accept anything. Just like with the truck, there had to be some fix, some way I could make things right. In some cases, there were, but more often than not there were not. I couldn’t deal with that. There had to be something I could have done differently or something I could do now to rectify things, and the more things I couldn’t fix, the more things there were to weigh upon my soul.

A counselor recently introduced me to something called radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is basically learning to accept life on its own terms and not resisting the things that cannot be changed. I have been attempting to put this theory into practice more and more. Yes, life has sort of sucked for me as of late, but dwelling on that fact will not change the circumstances. Yes, I blew up the truck, but there is nothing I can do about that now except figure out what needs to be done next. Do I excel at practicing radical acceptance every day? Absolutely not. The more I try, though, the more I am realizing that it may be absolutely essential for my survival.

Even as I write this, I’m feeling the tug of a million things in my life I wish I could change somehow. Since most of these matters are entirely beyond my control now, though, I have to learn to accept them. Should I receive a chance in the future to do better, I have to be ready to grasp it. In the meantime, it’s time to get radical.
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