Acceptance

Posted on Dec 11, 2019 in Self-Help

“If I’m going through it, it’s important. Everything that is happening to me is happening for a reason.” This is what I believe, but is it really true?  Ultimately it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. The story has value in that it helps me accept my reality.

 

Why is acceptance important?

If we are leading life with acceptance, it means we aren’t in resistance. It means we aren’t becoming evermore tangled in mental strands of fear and regret. It means we aren’t keeping ourselves trapped in a body of tension and dis-ease.

 

How do I know if I’m not in acceptance with life?

Signs of non-acceptance may include:

  1. Serial complaining – Habitual pessimistic responses to anything and everything. Additionally, rabbit hole complaining, where one loses themselves in a bottomless pit of negativity.  In both these cases little to no therapy is being achieved by the expression. The mind is never sated, relief never arrives.
  2. Groaning – Huffing and puffing, moans, whines and sighs sneak out. Imagine an older man tagging along with his wife while she shops. He’s bored and displeased to have to wait for her while she’s fiddling around in the dressing room. Can you hear his grumbles of impatience?
  3. Feeling a general stuckness – Trapped and stagnant. When we are in resistance to what is, we are blocking the flow of life and intuitively, we feel it.

 

The truth may be counterintuitive

At first we think, “I can’t accept this situation. I don’t like it, so why would I embrace it? If I act in all-accepting manor that mean’s I’ll just be going along with everything in life, essentially allowing myself to get dragged about.”

The truth however is that when we resist, we shoot oursleves in the foot. Of course it’s natural, that when we don’t want something, we resist it. However in doing so, we block the flow of life and put ourselves us in a place of victimhood, not power. So it is really in THIS state that we are getting dragged along by life.

It is only when we accept that we can step into our power. We first have to acknowledge WHERE WE ARE, before we are able to strategize how to get out. We have to input an address into the GPS “starting place” if we want to be guided to our destination.

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If you’re thinking…

“I swear, I am accepting my current situation. It’s just that I don’t like it!”

Challenge this. Have you really accepted it?

Acceptance takes present awareness. If one is truly present they’d move to do something about the situation, either by way of physical change or mental shift. Survival requires it.

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How is acceptance the antidote to suffering?

Because in acceptance, at least one of five things happen:

Imagine you stop, see the situation, accept it is how things are, and then
(Recall the man waiting for his wife in the dressing room example.)

  1. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it outwardly.
    “Honey you do your thing, I’m going to get a drink and I’ll meet you at the coffee shop in an hour.”
  2. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it inwardly. You change your perspective of it.
    “This isn’t so bad, I’m glad I’m not at work, this is a comfy chair. Hey she looks hot in that dress…”
  3. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and your situation naturally changes.
    “Ugh I’m so bored. I’m so tired. Hmm that feels like a relief to admit. It makes sense I’m feeling this way, it’s been a long day. It’s okay I’m feeling this way. I feel a little less tense now.”
    Wife: “Honey I’ll be ready to go in five minutes, you want to pick a place for lunch?” *
  4. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and you naturally change inwardly.
    “Ugh I’m so bored. I’m so tired. Hmm that feels like a relief to admit. It makes sense I’m feeling this way, it’s been a long day. It’s okay I’m feeling this way. Ahhh that self check in was comforting.”
  5. (Advanced) You become so present that you are now unflappable. All thoughts float through you. External situation no longer possesses the same hold on you. In presence we unhook our power from our thoughts. Remember that it is often our reactive unconscious mental chatter that causes more pain than the actual situation.
    “I’m so bored. This will never end” transforms to “Interesting how many thoughts around boredom have come up. I’m also noticing how soft this chair is…”

* Certainly, external circumstances may also change without you embracing the situation. But the meantime becomes so much more peaceful if one does relax into acceptance. How would you like to spend your meantime?

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Why not resist?

Resistance is an energy drainer and focus distraction.

 

So why do we do it?

Perhaps subconsciously we choose this path out of fear. We avoid meeting an alternative. Whereas in acceptance, we come face to face with our power and can no longer hide from ourselves and our options.
I’m going to stay “stuck” in this job I despise, because I’m too scared to put myself out there and be a freelance artist… Something I secretly dream of. 


Perhaps we do it simply out if habit. Because we haven’t seen an alternative approach modeled.
My grandfather taught my father the language of complaining, and my father taught me.


In either case, we continue to approach life in this way because we aren’t aware we are doing it. How can we address that which resides in our blind spot? We can bring it into view by asking ourselves:

  1. Where am I experiencing suffering?
  2. What is held in my tense shoulders my clenched jaw, my furrowed brow?
  3. Which thoughts revisit my mind and leave me feeling helpless, hopeless and stressed?

 

Everyday examples of when we may be in resistance
  • Sitting in traffic. This is bullshit. I’m going to be late. Uuuggh!
  • Going to work.  I hate that I have to do this job.
  • The systems in this world do not afford the same opportunities to everyone. The government is BS, no one cares about minorities…

One can accept the objective reality and not sanction the old story. Remember that resistance will use story to feed itself. In presence however, we step back and become the observer – we become aware of our situation and of our thoughts. From there we can decide which story is written. Without this, we continue to cycle on a well worn mental treadmill.

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Mindsets that keep us stuck
  1. If I accept it, I condone it.
    I don’t want to accept the lack of education around racial issues because I don’t want to excuse racism in any context.
    This is false. We have to accept the state of affairs to work on changing them.
  2. If I accept it, it means I’m settling for it.
    I don’t want to accept how my boyfriend is treating me because I don’t want it to continue. 
    To accept is not to settle, it is simply to put us in a better position to address what isn’t working. Only when we can claim what isn’t working can we do something about it.
  3. To accept my reality means to enjoy it and that would be fake of me. It’s not realistic to enjoy everything all the time.
    I hate my job. I can’t genuinely enjoy it.
    There is no need to put on a false act. Acceptance doesn’t mean to enjoy, it means to digest the reality so we can make use of its nutrients. If we don’t digest it, we stay stuck chewing on it. In this case, one nutrient may be: more information about what we like and don’t like in a work environment.

 

Resistance feels like suffering

During this existence you have a partner — you can call it God, you can call it The Universe, you can call it life-force. You decide if it will be a fight or a dance.

 

Recall : How to make it a dance?

In acceptance, at least one of five things happen:
Imagine you stop, see the situation, accept it is how things are, and then

  1. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it outwardly.
  2. Recognize it’s not your preference so you deliberately change it inwardly. You change your perspective of it.
  3. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and your situation naturally changes.
  4. Take inventory of your feelings. Empathize with yourself, and you naturally change inwardly.
  5. (Advanced) You become so present that you are now unflappable. All thoughts float through you. External situation no longer possesses the same hold on you. In presence we unhook our power from our thoughts. Remember, it is often our thoughts about a situation that cause more pain than the actual situation.

 

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