Posted on Feb 01, 2024

(Hint: You Cannot Change What You Don't Accept)

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox

Acceptance. For some of us, it’s a “dirty” word. Acceptance may bring up thoughts of failure, resignation, defeat, resentment, or letting life get the best of you. Perhaps acceptance feels like giving up.  Today, let’s look at acceptance through a gentler lens, shall we?  I would even go as far as to say a positive lens.

Let me suggest that acceptance is nothing more than telling the truth about what IS. Let’s look as some of these difficult truths.

You have a job or career you don’t love or that sucks every ounce of vitality from you? It’s okay to tell the truth about that. Understanding your current situation and precisely how you got there is a key part of acceptance.

You’re a new (or seasoned) mama and your kids demand every bit of your attention (even though you’re exhausted beyond your limits and spread paper-thin?) When you acknowledge with honesty where you are, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck there.

You’re injured, immobilized, or ill and you feel terrible most of the time? Confirming this information (without self-pity) means you may have more choices than you ever thought possible in the stark face of abrupt limitations out of your control.  If all we see is illness, that means we don’t see other options.

Acceptance is not giving up OR denying there is any possibility for change.  In fact, acceptance is one of the first gateways to change. (It’s true, just ask any 12-step recovery group member, and they’ll surely confirm my statement.)

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

Counterintuitively, acceptance provides us with a pathway toward more ease and freedom.

How does this occur?

When we STOP resisting our circumstances through denial, anger, despair, and hopelessness, what’s left is only the truth. And the truth is that what’s happening to you right now is not an attack from the world. It’s not personal. Your circumstances provide you with different arrays of choices--that’s it.

Of course, when we surrender to the reality of what’s happening in our lives each day with a calm mind and an open heart, our choices and emotions can still be very difficult. But, there is a lightening of pressure and a spaciousness that occurs when we stop fighting the truth.

In that space, new thoughts, emotions, selections, options, and pathways open up, as if by magic. When we work WITH what’s happening, we can SHIFT our outcomes--sometimes in ways we never thought possible.

When we have a clear understanding of the truth, we can make better decisions, take internal and external steps to improve our situations, and generally up-level each aspect of our lives, even WITH the hurdles we must all overcome.

What Can We Control?

I recently worked with a client that was struggling with anxiety about the members of her family. If she couldn’t reach them when she called, she would go down the worry rabbit hole and work herself into a stressed out mess until they called her back.  During our session, we discussed the idea that the only thing we really have control over is our response to an event.  We do not have control over anyone else’s actions, what anyone is thinking, or any situation.  After working together, she sent me this message:

“I feel much more in control during the day.  When something happens and I feel myself getting anxious, I stop, breathe, and try to hear your voice reminding me that the only thing I can control is my reaction to someone else’s action.  I am only responsible for how I react, not for what they do.  This has helped me get over some rough spots."

The Hard Truth

Getting upset about pain doesn’t take it away. For example, if you stub your toe on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, beating yourself up for a stupid mistake doesn’t make the pain go away.  In fact, it adds an unnecessary layer of suffering to the experience.

Thinking about and replaying the past doesn’t give us the ability to change what has already occurred.  Worrying, wishing and hoping things were different doesn’t make anything actually change.  Wishing you didn’t lose your job doesn’t get it back, and it certainly doesn’t help you get a new job.

Action Step

When you feel yourself in a state that I mentioned earlier (denial, anger, despair, and hopelessness) ask yourself, “What am I resisting?”  “What part of the truth of this situation am I not accepting?”

Meditation gives us a leg up on acceptance. We learn to embrace the mind of the observer, and we can more easily get off of our internal drama rollercoasters when our insides and outsides jump the rails. This is training for acceptance in life outside of a meditation practice.  

We can make clearer decisions in the moment because we’re connected closely to the present--to what IS. (And usually, when you think about it, we’re “okay” at this moment RIGHT NOW.)

We have a number of meditations to help you with acceptance.  This week's new sleep meditation was created in response to a member's comment about recognizing you are not your thoughts. Give this one a try tonight.

Or try this simple meditation on acceptance, or this sleep meditation to help you surrender. If you’re struggling against a “truth” in your life of any size or impact, I’ll help you learn how to take the fear out of the thing with a gentle dose of acceptance.

When you’re craving more personalized support around accepting the truths in your life and managing them with more ease and joy, consider either a personalized hypnotherapy or a breakthrough coaching session.  We will discuss how you are suffering, what the root cause of that suffering is, and how to let go resistance to move toward the life you desire.

An outside perspective can be just what you need to see your experience through the lens of truth so you can move forward positively.

Wishing you a peaceful week with an accepting heart,

Sara Raymond

The Mindful Movement