Disgusting—it’s the impression we get from someone who is challenged to eat a slimy vegetable. She swore to death she’ll never eat it again. I’ve felt this way many times with different people. If my ideals—the standards in my head—aren’t met then to grow a relationship is pointless.

I struggle to accept people for who they are—their quirks, excuses, complaints, shortcomings. It doesn’t of course excuse my own bucket of blunders. Rather, projecting my ideals and intentions to others has been the problem; I spin justifications in my head of how people should be rather than who they actually are. I’m confined to how they should treat me and how they should validate my opinions. This notion, I realized, has been shrinking my experience of the world.

I knew I needed to soften my ideals and learn to accept things as they are, and instead, lay fresh eyes and start anew. They’re not bad as long as I think not; if there’s goodness trained in my head, then there will be.

It’s like having the slate cleaned, tasting bell pepper the third time, and voila, coming back surprised. It wasn’t bad after all—it’s interesting. We can replace the bitterness with a malleable perception, accommodating new experiences.

There are a lot of things out of our control. We can learn something from every situation by, instead of wishing desperately how things must be, we accept things as they are, thereby saving our energy, unencumbered to deal with the task at hand.

Amidst the perceived “badness” of the situation, we can use the event’s fuel to catapult our best selves: Productivity in a long line. Composure and confidence amidst a crowd. Calmness in the heat of anger. Fortitude in sad times.

Ultimately, unless we change our minds—give that terrible vegetable a second chance, give it another try to know the people we already met, or give that lesson another try—then interesting discoveries would only come to pass. Growth may forever be in the bushes. Malleability creates possibilities we would not have taken interest unless we take a different turn. Allowing space to shift our ideals—or making peace with them—may be the thing we need for a fresh start.


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