Please join me for a special play on words.
Have you ever found yourself in moments of pure exasperation, shouting "GAA!" to everything you have going on?
If so, you are now part of a highly non-exclusive collection of all other individuals who also live on planet Earth.
I have capitalized this sentiment not only with the hopes of capturing your attention, but to encourage you to detangle this phrase with me.
When we feel incredibly overwhelmed, what is at the root of that feeling?
I'll break it down for you.
It is always one, or more, or all proponents of "GAA!"
Guidance, Accomplishment, Acceptance.
Let's start with Guidance. This is a big one. As we each navigate through the life course, where none of us were kindly provided with a map, when the going gets tough we search for a sign, some direction, a lighthouse, God, or literally anything that can provide us with a clue on what to do. When we do not receive said Guidance, we feel lost. We feel abandoned. We feel stupid. We feel hopeless. We begin laying the foundation for moments of "GAA!"
Accomplishment. This is the stubborn ex-lover of Guidance. Because with or without Guidance, when we reach Accomplishment we expect a pat on the back, a ten-tier cake, a parade, a release of doves and a golden plaque on every street corner with our name on it — or is that just me? Accomplishment has things to prove. It is a symbol of how strong, capable, and resilient we are. It is a testament to the fact that we oftentimes don't even need silly old Guidance. Sometimes we just need some luck, a shot of tequila, and a whole lot of nerve. But other times, we humble ourselves. We take Guidance's advice from whoever or whatever we can find — our parents, our boss, the book we are reading, the homeless man whose sign reads "Stop Whining, Start Smiling," and so forth. And we do accomplish great things. With or without warranted acclamation.
Then finally, there's Acceptance. The love child of Guidance and Accomplishment. Who, mind you, is the product that carries the weight of its two creators. Acceptance walks the hardest line, perhaps because it does not entirely concede to the demands of Guidance, nor does it depend on a long succession of Accomplishment. Acceptance plays by its own rules, on its own time. It recognizes that it does not need the other two to be whole. It knows that it can stand on its own without receipt of direction or applause.
So very often, we find ourselves shouting "GAA!" because we tie these three members together. We weave them into a perpetual cycle of confusion and insufficiency, leading to ultimate self-doubt. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT force these three to work together like some well-oiled machine. It won't work. It won't help. And mostly importantly, it will serve to create more "GAA!" moments in your life.
They are completely different entities meant to stand alone, rather than intertwined with one another as if posed for an awkward family portrait.
Acknowledge Guidance. Applaud Accomplishment. But do not seek Acceptance from either route. Guidance will not always lead to Accomplishment. Accomplishment will not always lead to Acceptance.
Acceptance points nowhere, yet everywhere.
Acceptance impresses no one, yet everyone.
Acceptance walks alone, yet accompanied.
It walks in you.