We often find it difficult to follow the concept of “acceptance“. The reason for this is that our mind is designed to reject, resist, and desire something other than the way life is. For example, when it is raining, our mind wants sunshine. It does not accept cold when it wants warmth. It can even be upset over silly little things such as waiting for the next episode of your favorite series that is yet to be streamed. In other words, it does not accept the way things are. It keeps on wanting new things. But why?

Maybe because our mind believes that life should go according to our ideas and our plans. And in most cases when life doesn’t happen in that way, like a stubborn child, it complains and is angered. This childish behavior with a complaining attitude then resists you from moving forward in your life.

What does it mean to accept something?

To accept is to recognize something as valid or correct. It is the opposite of denial and avoidance. The concept of acceptance involves accepting the realities of your life including accepting your own pain and limitations as a human being. These limitations include your painful emotions, judgmental attitude, wanting to be superior, and comparing yourself with others. After all, you are designed this way, and this must be accepted, rather than ignored. Instead of denying your emotions, when you accept them, it gives you inner peace as well as healing. By ceasing to deny and fight with the way things are now, the strange thing about acceptance is that by giving up on all the energy we were using, our energy is freed to tackle the situation with some freshly gained insights.

The need for practicing acceptance

When you practice acceptance, you are now aware of the truth about your life and your condition. You are now aware of why being human is so difficult, of why things are never as you planned them to be, of why your life is never easier but full of struggles. At this point, you realize that acceptance is the only key to unlocking the prison of the human condition. It puts you back in the present moment which deserves your full attention, not the moment your mind keeps on dreaming of.

Acceptance of something uncomfortable or painful does not mean being rejected or giving up. It means acknowledging the fact that pain is there and then taking action to begin the healing process. And if things or situations are out of our control, we need to accept that fact and move forward. Acceptance is important because it knows how to respond kindly, compassionately, and wisely to any situation.

Steps towards practicing acceptance:

The Acceptance Myth

We often assume that accepting a situation means not attempting to change it. That’s a key misunderstanding. For instance, if someone is acting unkindly or abusively, you accept that that is happening (because it is!). But this human behavior is not acceptable and so you take the required action afterward involving how to deal with such toxic behavior. You have accepted that such things happen, but you can’t or won’t allow that abuse to continue. This is an important distinction.

An important realization of acceptance is that it does not mean you have to like everything or that you have to deal with everything with a passive attitude. Such kind of Pollyanna’s attitude is itself a toxic one. (Read to know why).

Often people mistake acceptance for tolerance or a “give-up” attitude. It does not mean you have to be satisfied with things as they are, or that you have to stop trying to change things for the better. Rather, acceptance simply means the willingness to see things as they are, deeply, truthfully, and completely. It doesn’t mean surrendering to things just the way they are, it means surrendering to your resistance to the way things are.

Acceptance is not about resignation. It is about courage, the courage to face that situation no matter how tough or disappointing it may be. Each of your intense feelings such as anger, fear, or grief, require an equal acceptance as that of other happy emotions. And instead of denying your resistance, your rejection, your anger, your frustration you work on them.

Much like alcoholics first need to recognize that they have a problem before they can do something about it, so do we need to accept that we have an issue and not try to cover it up. By not covering it up, that is not for other people but not covering it up for ourselves.

To accept something is to be open to what is, however it may be, without resistance. It is the understanding that even if it’s a hard moment now, it will eventually change. And even it’s a happy time now, this too shall pass.

SUMMARY

Acceptance is an important spiritual teaching, a tool that counteracts or neutralizes our ego. It is a powerful weapon that helps us reconcile, understand reality, and move forward. It makes you content to receive something and digest it as truth instead of fighting to not acknowledge it and not take it in.

Acceptance has nothing to do with condemning something. It has nothing to do with whether you want to change something or not. It’s simply about being able to acknowledge something as valid enough to let it in your life.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

Lao Tzu




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A lover of nature, reading and writing

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