The sweetness of acceptance

The word acceptance is often misunderstood when used in a spiritual context. When we hear things like, “It’s all about living in acceptance,” it sounds like we’re being told to become passive & let things remain as they are, hence the importance of understanding the context in which the word is being used. In the spiritual context, the word ‘acceptance’ is referring to reaching an inner state of non-resistance, a state of complete inner acceptance or what some call ‘surrender.’ The initial resistance will often manifest as an uneasy feeling which can serve a purpose in drawing our attention to an unresolved situation. But if this inner resistance or non-acceptance continues for long periods, it will become the reason for mental suffering which can eventually lead to more severe mental health issues.

The voices of non-acceptance

Whilst living in a state of non-acceptance, the voices in our head will sound something like, “Why me? I can’t believe this is happening to me. I wish I could go back & change what I did. I wish I could change what happened to me.” It is a natural response for the intellect to start trying to make sense of a situation. It will attempt to provide multiple potential reasons to why it happened and will also look for solutions. The issue isn’t the intellect trying to do its job but its being unaware of being in a state of non-acceptance. The effect of remaining in that state for long periods of time is that it increases the chance of our thoughts becoming compulsive and intrusive.

Learning instead of resisting

One of the alternatives to resisting and not accepting is to focus on learning from the situation. There is always a lesson we can take from our experiences but it means putting on the learning hat first. For example, we could say something like, “I can’t believe I go through bouts of anxiety,” or we can come to a place of acceptance and approach it like attending a lesson at school. This approach will allow us to learn from the situation consciously instead of our thoughts being in a compulsive state. We can consciously look at how we feel, and what physical symptoms are occurring. We can start getting an insight into our triggers & focus on the tools we use to come out of it. When we focus on the lessons, they can help us to serve others by providing them with the same tools. This process will become so much easier when done in the state of acceptance.

Acceptance & being proactive 

In this section let’s start with debunking the misinterpretation about acceptance meaning not taking outward action and leaving things as they are. We have already looked at what the voices of non-acceptance could potentially sound like, these voices will most likely take the body into what is known as stress response which will reduce the chance of looking at the situation rationally (please take note that there are certain situations where this response is required).

What would internal acceptance look like in a real-life situation? Let’s say I receive a diagnosis of having an illness that would impact my day to day activities, the initial reaction might be, “I can’t believe this happening to me,” but I can train my mind to consciously respond with, “It is what it is, I can’t be anywhere else in this moment other than where I am.” Internal acceptance will allow me to be proactive toward the illness in a much more efficient manner.

Taking steps towards acceptance

  1. When a situation arises, take your focus inwards.
  2. Become conscious of the voices in your mind (the current default reaction).
  3. Take a deep breath & consciously say, “It is what it is, I can’t be anywhere else in this moment other than where I am.”
  4. Let this sit deep within you.
  5. Take the next step from the powerful silence of acceptance. 

There is a sweetness to living life in acceptance, it takes away the bitter taste of resentment.

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