Mental health, emotional wellbeing & personal development

The power of acceptance

The power of acceptance

Even though I know the power of acceptance can transform your life, I often don’t realise when I am resisting. You probably resist what is too but don’t realise that you are using so much effort to do so.

Think of this analogy:

You are sitting on a small sail boat and there is no wind. Despite this, you want to get to the edge of the lake. You huff and puff at the sails trying to get the boat to move, but nothing happens. You exhaust yourself in the process and you make no progress. You are resisting what is – the fact that there is no wind.

If you accept that there is no wind and sit tight for a while, a gust of wind will eventually come and move the sail boat to where you want to go. When you accept what is, you expend less energy and effort trying to influence something that is impossible to change and you will be less stressed and anxious.

Examples of resisting:

Being diagnosed with an illness and going into denial. This is a dangerous scenario as you may not be giving yourself the best chance at good health if you deny you even have an illness.

Statements such as: “Why me? Life is so unfair.” This is a form of emotional resistance. When you can say, “Okay, this is the deal. Life isn’t fair…what can I do to make my life as good as possible despite the bad bits?”, you are using the power of acceptance and you will make progress.

Being rejected by someone and failing to accept the status quo. Sometimes, you have to accept that a relationship is over. Yep, it seriously sucks but once you accept, healing will start and you will ultimately get back to your old self. The longer you resist, the harder it will be to heal. Acceptance isn’t easy and resistance is a defense mechanism. At times, accepting what is feels so threatening that we enter into a phase of resistance.

Avoiding the fact that you hate your job/relationship/house. If you accept that you hate your job but decide to stay anyway you are accepting that the situation isn’t good. When you push yourself to stay in a situation that doesn’t suit you but tell yourself you need it because you don’t want to seem a failure, you are resisting. You are denying that the job is bad and see yourself as the problem. Big difference!

How to recognise resistance and improve acceptance

The power of acceptance involves knowing the difference between what you can and cannot change. Take an objective look at your life and identify areas that you cannot change:

You can’t change other people. You can ask for what you want but you cannot change how they react to you. What they think, feel and do is up to them ultimately.

The only thing you have complete control over is yourself – what you think and feel as well as how you choose to react to a situation.

If you are stuck in a traffic jam, accepting it is going to far less stressful than winding yourself up by freaking out. You can’t make the traffic disappear, so you may as well use the time to listen to good music or practise mindfulness.

If you fail to meet a deadline at work, you can’t change the past. Instead of giving yourself a hard time, focus on what is within your power. Problem solve and look forward not backwards.

The power of acceptance is in the “letting go”. It can feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Acceptance leads you to a place where you understand the situation for what it is and look for ways to best deal with it.

When we resist, we are often in denial and how can you improve a situation when you deny that it even exists?

Resistance will keep you stuck. Acceptance will set you free.

Mandy X

 

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash