Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Talking about acceptance is not so easy. I had a certain “prejudice” myself with this word as it resembled me to “excuses for not doing; “just coping” or “giving up a situation”. Acceptance is to be in peace with what is or what was. There is a very difference in energy
when someone is simple “throwing the towel” or when someone is just living and being with what is or what was in peace.
After Reading some books and mainly living that by my own, actually I understand what the “gurus” want to say when acceptance is one of the very first aspects and basis to build our happiness.
Acceptance is directly linked to your level of consciousness and clearly seeing what it is in the moment, of non-judgment, simply recognising a situation, person, you, whatever, as it is.
Regardless of how beautiful our life is, invariably, we all one day have faced some kind of frustration, rejection, loss or pain and we all one day had feelings of fear, sadness, guilt, anger and others related. Most of us don't deal well with pain, and most of the time, we react in a non-constructive way. Our thoughts can lead us to have very unpleasant feelings that do not help us move forward. On the contrary, the more we think of a situation that we do not agree with, the more negative emotions we feel and with that we fall into a "trap" because it is a vicious cycle that only increases the size of pain/problem.
What do we mean by Acceptance then?
Acceptance means you allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling at the moment. That is, you are not "fighting" or "resisting" what is in fact or not trying to change what has already happened. You won't be lost in your own sorrow thoughts of something that happened and wanting it not to have been that way, or you won't want to change someone to be the way you think this person has to be, or you won't be regretting something you don't like in yourself or that you could have done something in a better way.
When you are busy with all these thoughts, your energy is not fully available to be used at the present time, impairing your current performance.
Once you accept what is or what you've already been through, you can develop your improvement strategies. Your best tomorrow may be much better than your best today.
Changing your thinking pattern "what could have been” for "whatever happened, it's passed, and it is ok” frees you from non-constructive thoughts and increases your energy so you can improve your performance.
In the book. "Full Catastrophe Living” – by Jon Kabat-Zin, the author explains to us that in mindfulness practice we should not try to achieve anything with the exercises, we do not create any expectation stemming from the practice; just be whole with acceptance at the present moment, that is, allow us to feel and accept what it is, what we are thinking and feeling at the moment, without judgment. This practice invites people to explore non-striving and self-acceptance as a way of being; without being tied to patterns of success or failure that we condition ourselves as "correct". According to the author, the practice of meditation is this way because the effort in trying to get somewhere is usually the wrong kind of effort to produce change or growth since it comes from a rejection of the present moment.
At the first sign that you're not getting anywhere and that things aren't coming out the way you want, people tend to get discouraged, lose hope, blame others and often give up. So, no real change happens. It's a paradox concept. The meditative view is that only by accepting the present moment, no matter how painful, frightening, undesirable this may be, is that real changes can happen.
Making a comparison in relation to my process of moving from Brazil to The Netherlands, I saw how attached I was to my job, my friends and family, my home and my lifestyle. When I moved to Holland, at first, I couldn't disconnect from my past, I kept thinking about the things that had ceased to exist in my life, I didn’t have an assistant to help me with the home tasks, I didn’t even know how to cook a decent food, I did not have a nice job that challenged me and made me feel useful, I didn't have my friends to talk to anymore, etc...
When I was thinking about what I no longer had, I wouldn't let it go... And with that, I was not able to see the new opportunities that were waiting for me as well as I was not living my new life fully and completely in the present moment.
As I realised that pattern of thoughts was not helping me, I was able to see how many beautiful things were around me, how many new opportunities to explore and experience were available if I opened up myself to them.
In a transition process people can react differently. Some people may love change and thrive on. Others seek only to cope with and survive and others will do everything possible to avoid change. A great deal of resistance to change comes from the perspective we see the situations.
As Wayne Dyer says: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”
Understanding that there is a normal process to change can alter your perspective and support you to manage your thoughts patterns along the journey.
it is normal for people to resist at the beginning till healing is possible; they need some time to release and detach from the past; reflection till they are open for evaluating new possibilities.
Some examples of typical thought patterns that people go through till total acceptance is possible:
I'm feeling miserable about what happened, there's nothing I can do to change things.
I hate and feel angry about what's going on, I hate this situation, I hate my new life.
I'm going to find a way to make this change work for me and for my family
What opportunities are there in this change for me?
What about you? How is your acceptance of your present moment?
How can your lack of acceptance be "holding you back”?
How can you have a more inspiring thought to help you achieve your goals?