Radical AcceptanceRead Now
While it is important and useful to have a vision and know what one desires in life, it is equally important, albeit far more challenging, to accept the current version of one’s circumstances. We often wish for something different, dream of a better future and struggle against the challenges that life puts in our way in getting there. Now, don’t get me wrong here: motivation, desire and being proactive are incredibly important and necessary. When I talk about the importance of acceptance, I am not referring to becoming complacent. Rather, I think of acceptance as the opposite pole to resistance. The difference between these lies in the energy you embody in the present moment: do you feel like you are pushing against something, critical, resentful, irritated or angry? Or, can you look at the present with a sense of peace and calm, regardless of what’s happening? Of course, acceptance and peace won’t be the case all the time, we all have to freak out, at least every now and again. But, as we learn to practice acceptance, letting go of our need to control or always expecting things to go our way, we regain power over our energy and emotions, and create a much more stable (and enjoyable) place from which to live our lives.
Let’s be honest here: there are so many things that we have to deal with that we would just rather avoid. Circumstances often challenge us, triggering frustration, irritation, stress, anxiety or depression. How could this happen, we might think, or why is this happening to me?? We often overreact, letting our emotions get the better of us and using up a whole lot of energy in the process. But what would happen if instead of resisting, you let go and tried accepting. Not being ok with, feeling excited about or even wanting to deal with, but maybe, just letting it be what it is. I’ve noticed that the more I can drop into this place, though I may be very unhappy about what is happening, the better I can work through the situation and the better I feel about it in the end. It not only takes a lot of resources to go through the roller coaster of reactionary emotions, but it also places our energy firmly in a place of resistance. Think of this as trying to hold up a wall with a flood of water behind it, as opposed to letting go and floating downstream. You may not necessarily want to go where the water’s taking you, but it’s a whole heck of a lot easier, and hey, you may just end up seeing some sights along the way you would have missed otherwise. Of course, we can’t always control our reactions to things and it is important to feel and honor emotions that come up so that they don’t get stuffed down or packed away in some deep, dark corner. The trick is to let them flow through you without fanning the flames, clinging to how you think you should feel, or dropping into a place of resentment or victimhood. As things come up, let yourself feel and acknowledge your reaction and then, and most importantly, let it go. Take a pause to accept what’s happening, see if you can bring yourself to a place of surrendering (again, not as a victim, but rather to stabilize yourself to be able to deal with the situation), and then get to work cleaning up the mess. When we are in reactivity, we are ungrounded and off-balance; when we accept, we stabilize, empowering ourselves to deal with challenges from a more grounded and level-headed place.
Trust is really helpful here. If you can bring yourself to accept and surrender to what’s happening in your life, it is much easier to do so if you come from a place of knowing that all is unfolding as it should, in right timing. This takes a solid amount of trust, whether that be in a higher power, destiny, your higher self, or your soul’s path. It’s a lot easier to swallow difficulty and challenge if you can stay in the mindset that it is happening for a reason, and is not just an opportunity for the universe to laugh at your misfortune. Keeping a more expansive perspective on what is happening and why reminds us that there is meaning and opportunity in even the hardest of circumstances.
Acceptance also requires a certain amount of self-love and forgiveness. Being hard on yourself for what has or is happening to you is often a total waste of time, and generally, it gets blown out of proportion and is mostly untrue. Take my word here, there is no use in looking back and saying, why didn’t I do this or that or make that choice? Self-blame, judgement and regret are all big energy-suckers that do absolutely no good. Again, perspective is important here. Maybe things went the way they did because there was something you needed to learn. Or, and this is one of my favorite secrets of the universe, maybe things have turned out like they have because life is trying to tell you something. The thing about the universe is, it doesn’t always communicate in ways we enjoy, particularly if we have been ignoring what it’s been saying. It also has a habit of listening to us, hearing our desires and wants, and sometimes, if we don’t take action quickly enough, it takes the reins and makes it happen cowboy style – that is, wild, rough and without the comforts we might have had in mind. So, moral of the story here is this: don’t bother blaming yourself for what is happening. We all make bad choices, have poor future vision and do dumb stuff once in a while. It’s how we learn! Put on your growth mindset and remember it’s all happening for a reason.
So, what does acceptance feel like? Acceptance feels like a peaceful ease in the present moment. It feels like flow rather than resistance, surrender rather than struggle, and just being rather than charging ahead with building plans and blueprints in hand. Does it always feel joyful, happy and inspiring? Heck no. But just think of it as an energy-saving technology, reducing your power bills and allowing you to redirect all that savings into creating a future without all the irritating circumstances that are currently assailing you. Haha, just kidding, those probably won’t go away. So, might as well get busy accepting them.
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Hi! My name is Ashley and I'm a transformational healer, writer and artist. Here you will find articles on a variety of topics related to health and healing, conscious living and self-growth. Hope you enjoy!