The power of acceptance: what it is and what it isn’t

Do you ever feel trapped in your emotions? Overwhelmed and just wanting to escape?

It could be due to your resisting the situation.

You see, when you wish something wasn’t the way it is, and you push against what is internally, you’re generating more pain and more suffering for yourself.

But acceptance is counter-intuitive because our natural response to unwanted feelings is to either push them away, distract and avoid, or try to “logic” our way out of them by thinking about (I know I do this).

I can spend hours in my head, trying to “figure out” how to get out of my pain but the result is always the same: I remain stuck in my resistance.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

I believe that behind many of us human’s problems is the fact that we’re not really good at accepting things.

We want what we want and we want it the way that we want it (woah).

This unwillingness to accept things as they are is, I believe, at the core of our suffering.

Our unwillingness to accept life as it is is at the core of our suffering

What acceptance IS and what it ISN’T

It can be easy to believe that acceptance of a person, a situation, or an experience means relinquishing our agency or ability to improve the situation and that is where the biggest misconception about acceptance lies.

Acceptance does not mean that you give up your will or desire to change things. It does not mean you surrender your power and that’s it. No. It simply means that you accept the parameters of the situation, person, or thing completely before you begin to work to change it (if you even need to change it at all).

When you let go of resistance by accepting all that you feel, you have freed yourself from the shackles of negativity that bind you to the situation. You also clear away the blocked energy and allow space for new, creative ideas to come to you, and this is where the magic happens.

When you drop the resistance, you will likely find that the situation no longer feels like a problem to you and so you see it in a new light, with renewed vigor, optimism, and energy.

Releasing negativity and accepting things as they are – which usually means accepting our response to things – is the magic cheat code of spirituality.

Why it’s hard to accept

Now naturally, it can be hard to accept things as they are sometimes.

For one, it gives our ego a reason to exist! Without problems or situations for the ego to chatter on about (resist), we wouldn’t need to keep a running dialogue of “against” going on internally. With non-acceptance, there is always something for the ego to complain about or dislike and this keeps the ego going.

The other reason why it can be hard to accept things sometimes is because our grievances – the things we resist on a regular basis – form a part of our sense of self. We are the person who decries Republicans, or finds millennials annoying, or thinks our parents are irritating, etc..

We tie up our identity with our dislikes, and often, we’ve been doing this for years. Because we’re so comfortable with our likes and dislikes, it can be hard to notice them, and even harder to accept what’s at the root of them!

We can also experience non-acceptance on the positive spectrum as well. This usually comes in the form of fear of not getting what we desire. The trick here is to learn to be okay with (accept) the possibility that you may not get what you want (but this we’ll save for another day)!

Liberation and how to practice acceptance

Ultimately, the beauty of accepting whatever we’re experiencing inside of us whether it’s anxiousness, fear, uncertainty, nervousness, you name it, is that you free yourself from those uncomfortable states.

When you accept and “give up control”, you offer no resistance to the emotional energy (or thought) anymore, and it’s able to dissipate. And in this space, freedom is found.

Some might wonder “How do I accept things as they are?”. I know I sure have.

For me, it begins with awareness. You must first have enough awareness to initiate your acceptance.

If you’re watching YouTube, or cooking, or doing something and all your attention is elsewhere, it will be very hard to bring your attention inside.

Once you are conscious and ready to move forward, begin by asking yourself what you feel. Notice the emotion inside of you and notice how the emotion feels. Does it feel good or not?

There might also be some mental resistance going on in the form of tension in the head or thought energy. Notice that too.

Notice all that is going on inside of you.

Now ask yourself, “Can I be okay with this? Can I allow this to be as it is right now?”.

Then see what happens when you try answering these questions internally. Be very aware of what you feel and use that awareness to be the container for everything you feel.

This is a practice and you might fail to accept what you’re feeling at that moment. This could be especially true if you’re dealing with a longstanding, deep emotion that you still haven’t fully acknowledged.

You might need to practice this over and over again but the good news is this costs you nothing, and you can access it at any time and any place.

It may not always be easy, but it is necessary if we want to be clear internally and free from negativity as much as possible.

If you struggle with negativity and resistance, and you begin to practice acceptance of what is, you will soon find that you are no longer at the mercy of these out-of-control thoughts and emotions, and you’ll begin to experience more freedom in your life both on the inside and out!

I hope that was helpful and that you learned something.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

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