From time to time, weíre all faced with situations that make our lives more complex. These can involve family members, friends or co-workers. I donít know about you, but Iíve spent a lot of time on these situations. I find myself using too much energy trying to change or manipulate events and people so that they resemble the movie in my mind.

From time to time, weíre all faced with situations that make our lives more complex. These can involve family members, friends or co-workers. I donít know about you, but Iíve spent a lot of time on these situations. I find myself using too much energy trying to change or manipulate events and people so that they resemble the movie in my mind.

From time to time, weíre all faced with situations that make our lives more complex. These can involve family members, friends or co-workers. I donít know about you, but Iíve spent a lot of time on these situations. I find myself using too much energy trying to change or manipulate events and people so that they resemble the movie in my mind.

People are what they are. Situations are what they are. Iím not saying we shouldnít try to improve our lot in life, or that weíre powerless to change certain things, but weíd save ourselves a lot of time and disappointment by being realistic about the situation and our expectations for the outcome.

Thereís a lot written on the art of acceptance, but itís easier to read about it than to practice it. In the seminars Iíve taught, I often meet women who say things like, "My partner doesnít clean up after himself," or ďhe doesnít keep his promises.Ē This is not necessarily indigenous to females. Iím sure there are men who have the same gripes. They just donít verbalize it as much.

These women can keep acting like a dog with a bone, but it just may be that there isnít much meat on it. I have heard individuals endlessly discussing how much they dislike their jobs or co-workers. When I ask them how long theyíve felt this way, they often respond ďoh, years!"

I believe that many of us are caught up in having ďmagical thinking.Ē Somehow, someday, things will change, and suddenly my relationships will be better, my job will change and I wonít have to think about any of this anymore. Wrong! If we donít face up to the reality that we have been part and parcel of our involvement in the aforementioned situations, we are simply living life as victims.

The first step in learning to stop wasting precious time and energy on changing situations is to take a long, hard look at yourself. Spend some time trying to figure out if your nature is to be overly critical and that you simply are the type that always finds fault. Some of us are terribly judgmental and think that we can do things better than anyone. If thatís not the case perhaps itís time to simply try to recognize whatís attributes you admire about your mate, or co-workers. When we focus on what we appreciate about someone or something, our critical nature diminishes somewhat.

And yes, accepting what is probably is the most noble path, but it takes time, and a lot of deep breathing. One of my favorite expressions as I get older is ďoh, well, what are you going to do?" Most of the time I decide to do nothing. It certainly is helping me to stop thinking Iím the grand poobah of the universe!

Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. Visit her website at www.stressed.com.