Stupid is as Stupid Does – Velvet Skill #5

A couple months ago I read a book called “The Velvet Rage – Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World”, by Alan Downs. It was one of those “life changers” for me.

Toward the end of the book, Dr. Downs has a chapter of various “Skills for Leading an Authentic Life”, which are not necessarily “gay life skills”, so anyone of any orientation could/should benefit from looking at these with me, unless you’ve already got it all figured out, in which case, “Well done, you!” For myself and the rest of us, I’m going to take one “skill” a day and blog about it. Some may be brief, some may be more protracted, who knows?

Here is today’s:

Accept reality on reality’s terms. 

When life doesn’t turn out the way you want, stop insisting that it not be so. This is a skill rarely practiced once and accomplished successfully; rather, it requires repeated use until you finally relinquish the demand that life be something different than what it is.

Oh man.

Do I SUCK at this…

I believe it’s called being “idealistic”, but it’s really just “banging your head against the wall”.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


Reinhold Niebuhr

And that’s all I have to say about that.


  1. This IS a hard one, and one that I have been working on. You mentioned CBT, well I’ve been using DBT, and one skill that teaches is “radical acceptance.”

    You mentioned “idealistic” as being the opposite, I tend to think of it as “optimistic”. We are both wrong. The opposite of radical acceptance isn’t idealism or optimism, that’s selling those things short; the opposite is delusion. It is a form of magical thinking, that because our brain/hearts wants something to be so, that it WILL be so. Or that somehow, despite what is in front of one’s face, shouting 2+2=4 believing will all our hearts that it really equals 3.5. And so we act as if it is really 3.5.

    I have a PhD in this and could teach courses (on the delusional bit).

    It is annoying that such a trite saying as _it is what it is_ is so profoundly accurate.

    And :::cough::: it is important to remember that while that magical thinking is stupid, however normal and common it might be, that YOU are not stupid for doing it. Just human.

    Liked by 2 people

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