Of all the issues surrounding well-being, perhaps none is as difficult as the power of acceptance. True acceptance means acknowledging all aspects of your life, even the negative ones, and facing how you feel about them.
The Power of Acceptance
It can be an almost scary experience. It often seems so much easier to run away from those feelings and not accept the truth of your situation.
We at Hope Grows understand both the difficulty of acceptance and the positive power it can have on your life. Here are some issues to consider as you seek to better understand the power of acceptance.
It’s Not Weakness
Many people think of accepting circumstances as an admission of guilt or defeat. They also may see it as weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The true power of acceptance is the first step toward making substantial change. Or it could be the first step to truly accepting something you cannot change, leading you to find new ways to think and feel about it.
For those who want to transform how they look at life or their circumstances, acceptance is not admitting defeat. It opens the door to fully understanding how you feel about your life and to concrete ways to make changes.
As Carl Jung wrote, “What you resist, persists.”
Some fear acceptance because they worry about fully accepting everything in their life, both the good and bad. Especially the bad. It may seem easier to simply ignore issues you don’t like and not accept them as reality. But this can lead to worse trouble down the road – including both physical and mental health issues.
Don’t Abandon Hope
Others may fear that acceptance will lead not to change, but to weary resignation. If you face a substantial amount of issues in your life, it is always possible to abandon hope and become resigned to your fate. But don’t give up! Acceptance is not about looking at all the things you want to change in your life and deciding it’s too much. It’s about acknowledging your true feelings, then finding ways to change what you can.
Neutralizing Unpleasant Experiences
As shown here in an article written by British psychologist Steve Taylor, acceptance helped him deal with the issue of tinnitus – one of the most persistent, hard issues for anyone to handle. He managed to turn the constant ringing in his ear into a positive by truly accepting his situation. The buzzing wasn’t going to go away. He couldn’t change his situation. But he could find ways to better manage his reactions and feelings about it.
Taylor goes on to write that acceptance and a new way of thinking about certain situations can shift them from being a negative to a positive. He mentioned such issues as household chores or getting stuck in traffic. He writes: “Our lives are full of neutral situations which are made pleasant or unpleasant by our mental attitude and our thoughts.”
Make a List
One suggestion is to start with acceptance by making a list of the things in your life that cause you stress or unhappiness. By doing so, you can really think about each issue. Some cannot be changed and must be accepted. Others can be changed. But the first step is acknowledging that they exist and how you feel about them.
These considerations can help you when dealing with acceptance. It’s a hard process. But it can prove richly rewarding for those who take it on.