The Power of Acceptance is so important to achieving success, happiness and a sense of fulfillment. It will help you be at peace with your current situation whilst taking action to improve it at the same time.
Many negative emotions such as impatience, frustration, guilt and blame can be reduced or even eliminated by practising the power of acceptance.
There are some things in life that we cannot change. These include:
- Our Height
- Our Parents
- The Past
There are a huge amount of things that we can change. These would include:
- Learning New Skills
So we need to accept the things that we can’t change and work on improving the things that we can change.
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However, it is not always that simple. Many of the things that we can change take time. For example, working out at the gym to improve your body or finding a new job or starting a business to create more money.
In these situations, it is important that we can accept the current situation and also work on changing it at the same time.
What is Acceptance?
Let’s start with what Acceptance is NOT!
It is NOT apathy, giving up, surrendering control or blaming someone or something else. It is also not accepting that it is going to be that way forever.
Acceptance is fundamentally an attitude or state of mind. It is the opposite of resistance.
For example, if you were stuck in traffic, it is your impatience and eagerness to reach your destination (and the possible consequences of being late) that make you just want to get moving! – That’s resistance in action. You don’t want to be where you are right now.
Instead, you could be listening to music, practicing affirmations, looking at other people with curiosity or being grateful for having a car!
Accepting something does not mean that you like it, want it, choose to have it or even support it. Instead, it’s choosing to allow it to be there in this moment. To make space for it. It’s giving yourself the chance to feel what you feel, experience what you have experienced without feeling negative emotions such as shame, guilt or anxiety.
How does the Power of Acceptance Benefit You?
When you can better accept what is, you will notice that you will :
- Have less arguments
- Stop trying to make other people wrong
- Stop complaining
- Look for the good in other people
- Notice frustration melting away and being replaced by curiosity and fascination.
- Look for good things in your life
- Attract more good things to you. This could be new opportunities or new people.
I believe this happens because your thoughts and energy change. You increase your level of vibration, by letting go of resistance and being more at peace with yourself.
The power of acceptance can neutralize unpleasant and irritating experiences. It might even transform them into positive ones.
Acceptance and Pain
Struggling against pain (whether physical or emotional) can be one of the hardest areas to practice acceptance.
In the case of chronic physical pain (or a chronic health condition), it can often feel that it fits into the “things I cannot change” bucket.
However by resisting it or rejecting the pain, it will cause you to suffer more. Using the Power of Acceptance may not reduce the pain, but it will reduce the suffering.
By reducing the suffering, you will develop the patience to work on solutions that can sometimes take some time and trial and error. You will probably find that you will notice the discomfort less often. It’s also good for the immune system.
Acceptance isn’t something that just happens over time. It requires practice until it becomes a habit.
Acceptance and resistance are opposite ends of the spectrum. By practising acceptance, you strengthen the neural pathways in your brain, so that acceptance becomes easier in the future.
It is natural to yoyo between acceptance and resistance, but this will reduce over time as you practice the power of acceptance.
Acceptance can be practised in all areas of life including:
- Your current experience or reality
- The past
- Other people
- Your thoughts and emotions
- Other people’s beliefs or ideas
- Your appearance
When you wake up, repeat the following affirmations
- Today is good and where I am is good
- All my mistakes are just fine.
- I am learning the lessons that I need to learn to graduate to something better.
And when something goes wrong, say something like “I don’t know why this happened, but this is okay”, then look for reasons to be happy.
If you’re having a hard time accepting something, say “Right now, I have absolutely no idea why this had to be a part of my journey but I embrace it anyway”
Another tip is to avoid the word “should”. Using the word “should” tends to make you argue or resist reality. For example, I should have gone to university, the government should do something or that person shouldn’t be so angry.
Acceptance and Other People
Happy people tend to be more flexible and more accepting of others. Rather than making demands on life and people, they will have preferences instead.
Here are some examples of preferences in action
- I prefer quiet neighbours, but if they are noisy, I can handle it.
- I prefer people to be polite, but when they are rude, I can be okay with that.
- I prefer people to see my point of view, but when they don’t, that’s fine too.
Can you see how that defuses potential negative emotions by a change in prospective?
Here are some examples of situations involving other people that you can choose to accept.
- People that work less than you
- People that make more money than you
- More intelligent people
- Angry or rude people
- Ungrateful people.
Acceptance, Happiness and Peace of Mind
Whatever we are trying to achieve in life, it is probably to achieve some level of happiness and peace of mind. When you realise that this is really the ultimate goal, you can often be more flexible and less resistant to the tangible results.
If you can accept where you are, see the best in other people and make an effort each day to do your best, then you can achieve your goals and dreams and be happy and at peace in the process.
I based this article on a podcast about Acceptance by Andrew Matthews. You can listen to it here.
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