What Is The True Meaning of Acceptance?
When you hear the word acceptance, you might think that it means to be okay with your life and circumstances. The word itself is not exciting; in fact, it can even invoke feelings like fear, anger, and other unpleasant emotions. We are conditioned to be full of desire and the need for control. Acceptance is actually counterintuitive to the survival parts of our brain, and yet it is imperative for a healthy mental, emotional, and spiritual life. Complicated, right? Truthfully, learning to accept what you can’t change is more than just learning to be okay with your reality. The true meaning of acceptance is discovering that what you thought you needed for your happiness was not a requirement but was rather an expectation that life can not (always) meet. Acceptance is an open doorway, an invitation, to see that all you need is what you have and what you need will always be provided.
For those of you on the spiritual path to higher growth and evolution, you know how important the concept of acceptance is. When we are stuck in the requirements and expectations of life, we become fearful, angry, grasping, and at the deepest level, we disconnect from our Soul. The following will provide you with ten important keys to help you align with the true meaning of acceptance so you can get back on track with your Soul’s truth and accept what you can’t change.
In this blog post, you will:
- Learn the true meaning of acceptance and surrender
- Discover 10 key ways to accept what you can’t change during hard times
- Move towards acceptance with an exercise designed to help you surrender
10 Ways To Accept What You Can’t Change
1. Recognize that acceptance does not mean you approve of what’s happening in your life. You don’t have to like reality, but to reduce your suffering, acceptance is necessary. Understanding this is most important. The initial resistance is due to the fear of giving up the feeling of the injustice of the circumstances. Our emotions are present for a reason; we must acknowledge what we feel without judgment of self in order to move forward.
2. Maybe your situation seems to be completely unacceptable- we can work with that. Acceptance is not just about the acceptance of your life situation but rather the acceptance of how you FEEL. Acceptance of a situation comes naturally when a situation becomes a pathway instead of a problem in our lives.
3. Oftentimes, acceptance comes naturally when we find purpose or meaning in our challenging life experiences. Reflecting on how the situation might help us grow or transform can help you make a big leap towards surrender.
4. Acceptance is not necessarily about allowing things to be as they are. The truth is that things ARE as they are. We don’t have control over other people or even certain situations. Just as the sun rises when it does and the night comes when it comes, we flow with this because it cant be any other way. The pathway to acceptance is about recognizing what can and cannot be changed.
5. Be assured that acceptance doesn’t mean that you give up or that you stop trying to change the situation. However, when you accept where you now stand, when you are in a place of non-resistance, you can better see what choices are available to you. When you explore the opportunities for change that are available to you, you can make choices from an empowered place.
6. Remind yourself that acceptance doesn’t always happen overnight. The more painful the situation, the harder it will be to accept, and the longer it will take to do so. When you get discouraged, remember that accepting reality will help to reduce the intensity of your emotions. Acceptance is more about coming into a state of allowing and less about being a future goal to be reached.
7. What can sometimes help is if you can recall situations in the past that you came to acceptance about. This can help you remember you have this strength within, even when it feels the hardest.
8. Keep in mind that acceptance is not the same as forgiveness. We work on acceptance for ourselves; it has nothing to do with the other person. Acceptance comes first; forgiveness comes second. Acceptance is necessary for you to move on with your life
9. If accepting something seems overwhelming, try breaking it down into smaller situations for you to accept. Focus on accepting the facts of the situation instead of the judgments/ stories/opinions about it.
10. Focus on the present instead of the future because remember- we can’t accept things that haven’t happened yet.
How To Accept Your Specific Life Situation
Take out a journal if you can and explore the following questions in relation to the situation you are struggling the most with right now. This is a great strategy to align and learn how to accept what you can’t change. At the top of the page, write the problem/belief as you see it. Notice the story running through your mind and put it on paper. Here are some examples you may resonate with:
My boss doesn’t do her job but expects me to do mine.
My loved one should have lived longer.
My spouse is lazy and won’t help me around the house.
Now that I lost my job, I will lose my home.
My kids need to be better behaved in public.
My health problems keep me from living my dreams.
Whatever it is, big or small- write down one main issue that has been on your mind.
Answer the following prompts to help you gain more clarity around accepting your specific life situation:
- When it comes to this problem, what emotion is the most heightened?
- What am I gaining by holding onto these negative or unpleasant emotions? You might find that somewhere inside you think you are gaining something by holding on instead of letting go ( for example: being right, not having to look at my own stuff, maybe my anger will change my partner, if I am not upset then the situation won’t change, etc. (No self-judgment allowed!)
- What have I learned or discovered about myself through this challenging experience? If you haven’t yet, how can this challenging situation help you grow or transform? What could be the reason you are experiencing this? What lesson or message might be hidden in the problem, waiting for you to discover it?
- Reflect on a similar or another difficult circumstance you overcame. How did you come to acceptance in those situations? Try to find a time that you truly feel you moved past and healed from.
- Break this situation down into smaller situations to accept. For example, if you lost your job, it may be first accepting that you no longer have the same daily schedule you used to. Next, it might be accepting the fact that you need to cut back on expenses, and maybe even accepting that you need to do a job search.
- How can I focus on the present moment in regards to this situation? What gifts are available to me now as I surrender this to the Universe/God/a higher power?
Now look back on your responses; how do you feel? You may even explore these questions a second time to go even deeper or reflect on these questions with other things in your life you are having trouble accepting.
Learning to accept what you can’t change is not just about moving into a state of okayness about your life; it is about recognizing that everything is happening for your highest good- even when life seems to be showing you the opposite. As you reflect on the areas of your life that you feel are unacceptable, you will discover gifts hidden within the problems you thought were un-moveable.
Enjoy this Loving Compassion Meditation.
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