I know what you’re thinking, “Hasn’t Karen written something else about acceptance?” Yes. I have. Your next question, “Why should I read another blog about the same topic?” Well, because this one is different and you’re looking for freedom and peace (again, I know you🙂). This blog just might help you understand the key to getting there.
Acceptance, as you might have guessed, is at the top of my list of self-awareness topics, which seems a little redundant after that first paragraph (If I call myself out on things, you won’t have to. You’re welcome.). It’s this amazingly simple concept that we struggle to get, “I just need to find acceptance, man.”
Finding acceptance rarely happens, because acceptance simply happens when we quit looking.
It finds us when we’ve gone through whatever process is necessary to get there. It’s stealth-like. It quietly arrives.
You see, this is how acceptance works. When you’re in struggle to ‘get there,’ it doesn’t happen, because acceptance is not struggle. When you’re trying to accept, you won’t get there, because there’s no trying with acceptance.
You one day wake up and find that ‘that thing’ that you were upset about is no longer a ‘thing.’ The struggle is gone and you feel peaceful, and strange, and curious, and kind of bummed, because you were hoping for a ‘fireworks’ moment. There isn’t a fireworks moment, because acceptance isn’t a thing.
It’s a feeling that you get when you let go of needing something to be different than it is.
Did you know that acceptance is the final stage in grieving?
Of course you did, but let’s go there anyway. When you experience a loss (any kind of loss…some are bigger than others), you go through the grief stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. You work through all of the stages to get that loss to be anything other than a loss, and then you find peace. You accept. You don’t have to like it.
It’s not about approving or disapproving, it’s really coming to terms with what is.
Is there something that you’re currently in struggle about? Are you fighting with reality? How do you find acceptance when you want something to be different than it is?
Here’s a few thoughts:
1. Notice that you’re in battle with reality.
“Why do I need this situation to be different than it is?” You are in some form of grief, which doesn’t always have to be about death. Simply noticing that you’re not accepting something will help you to see where your struggle resides.
2. Ask yourself, “What stage of grief does it feel like I am experiencing right now?
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, or Depression?” In case I lost you, you aren’t experiencing the final stage of grief, or you would not be looking for acceptance (#justsaying). Can you allow yourself to accept that you’re grieving and that it’s okay? Can you be compassionate with yourself?
3. “If I accept that this is true, what am I afraid of? What would that mean?”
Sometimes we hold out on accepting because we don’t want to give in. Avoiding acceptance keeps us attached can give the impression of still being connected. “If I accept it, I will lose it for good. That is a pain I’m not willing to experience.” When you honestly look at it, where are you afraid of letting go and finding peace?
4. “If I took one step toward acceptance today, what would that look like?”
For example, can you go outside and take a walk? Can you get in touch with your heart and feelings by meditating? Do some honest journaling? How about reaching out and connecting with some family or friends? Help someone out that is in deeper struggle than you are?
Essentially, when you come to terms with your denial, notice your anger is really sadness or some other painful emotion, quit looking for a do-over by trying to do something different, and get yourself moving one foot at a time out of your depression, you will find peace. Life is like that, a moving through challenging experiences, where you find your resilient heart is always there to lead you to peace, freedom, and acceptance.
If you currently find yourself in a place where you’re fighting with your reality, I hope you’ll consider the words in this blog so that you can honor yourself and the person or experience you’re grieving, and then find your way to acceptance. You won’t see it coming. Remember it’s stealth-like, this acceptance stuff. But you’ll look back and recognize that the emotions that had you bound in struggle are no longer consuming you. And you’ll exhale in gratitude (remember, I know you 🙂).
Much peace, my friend.
p.s. Check out one of my experiences with acceptance: Acceptance (A Moment in my Life)