A family member forgot to set up a weekly visit with me. I got angry (an expression of pain).
I could just as easily have accepted that they forgot, didn't and won't apologize, decide that I'm worthy in my eyes (no matter what), release that they won't meet my expectation and know that it is not my burden. In other words, I could just as easily choose contentment through acceptance.
I am still choosing anger, aka, my pain.
We can take any experience we have and choose the pain or accept that it is and then it was. Acceptance of the 'what is', is key for it to become 'then it was'.
We can decide how we feel about it, what we will focus on in the experience (pain or understanding self/others) and whether we will continue to review it, reverberating the pain with repetition or accept 'the what is'.
We can decide to take responsibility for the parts that are ours and release the part that is the other person's. We can also decide to confront but will have to know our expectations will need managing as we are almost surely to be disappointed.
In the end, we can choose to ensure, that no matter what we decide (pain or release), we are kind to ourselves. It's part of the processing and healing.
This is what it means to choose joy. This is what it means to focus on contentment. Acceptance is not a denial but a choice--a method of dealing with whatever unpleasantness is presented at our feet at any given moment and leaving it there.
E. Rodriguez y Nogueras