Not accepting things as they are is a fight against reality. It’s kind of crazy, really. Say that someone said something hurtful to you. You can wish they hadn’t said it forever, but the fact remains the same—they said what they said.
Say you did something you regret. You can wish you hadn’t done it, which could keep you stuck for a long time, but here’s the truth—you did what you did.
The problem with wishful thinking, wanting things to be different than they are, is that it’s agitating. It resists what’s real and keeps you ruminating and analyzing to try to make sense of it so that you feel better. But it doesn’t work, and it won’t bring you happiness.
It’s liberating to know that there’s another way: accepting things as they are.
What Is Acceptance?
Acceptance isn’t passive. It doesn’t mean that you’re resigned to a life of unhappiness, just putting up with things. Yes, you may accept that you feel anxious or eat too much junk food or you’re in a relationship that’s not working. But it doesn’t mean you’re stuck in these situations forever.
Accepting things as they are is a beautiful starting point that opens up possibilities you may have never considered.
- It lets you build a foundation for your choices and actions based on truth.
- You’re authentic and real rather than pretending or living in a fantasy about how you wish things were.
- It offers clear seeing and insight that you’ve overlooked by turning a blind eye or keeping your head in the sand.
- It empowers you.
- It’s the path to a deep understanding that can guide you to the part of you that is whole, free, and untroubled.
Acceptance is the opposite of avoidance or denial. It’s a full-hearted, all-encompassing, enthusiastic and curious “Yes” to things as they are. It is open, welcoming, and ultimately freeing—like a breath of fresh air.
Are you resisting life? Then consider dipping your toe into the ocean of acceptance. It’s a beautiful place to be.
How to Accept
Acceptance is taking an honest look at things as they are right now. You let go of judging or interpreting. You don’t need to add the layer of feeling like a failure or victim because of the situation. Rather than turning away from what is, you turn toward it and receive what’s here with great compassion and understanding.
Here are some examples:
- You can live forever waiting for an apology, or you can accept that it probably won’t happen.
- You can continue with a habit that doesn’t serve you, say you drink too much, or you can accept that this is the reality and explore the underlying feelings.
- You can keep procrastinating, or you can admit that you’re scared.
- You can wish you had made different choices, or you can accept that you’re in the situation you’re in.
The Sacred Shift to Accepting
I invite you to feel into the profound shift that acceptance brings. Let’s use the first example to illustrate: you feel someone has wronged you and you’re waiting for an apology that’s not coming.
If this is you’re mindset, you’ve given up your power to the other. You’ve decided that the only way you can let go of the situation is to receive an apology, which is something you can’t control. And what is your inner experience? Bitter, sad, and resentful. You’re caught in thinking about the past a lot, and you’re fully missing everything that’s available to you now—the beauty and wonder of this now moment.
Shifting into acceptance, here’s what changes:
You acknowledge what happened in the past and you realize you’re keeping the past alive in your thoughts and feelings. So what’s true right now are your thoughts and feelings about the past, not what actually happened.
New possibility: Instead of repeating the same story over and over in your mind, can you welcome these feelings, lovingly, just as they are? Can you see that, in their pure form, they are just the energy of physical sensation and let them move through?
You accept that the other person has not apologized. No one knows if that will change in the future, but for now, the apology isn’t happening.
New possibility: You thought you needed this apology to feel at peace, but now you’re open to exploring other ways that you can control.
You realize you can be present with your reactions.
New possibility: You change how you relate to this whole problem by finding the deepest space of acceptance within to let your present moment experience be as it is. You notice that your experience comes and goes, but this space is always here, deeply accepting, your sanctuary.
No longer stuck on this problem, you’re available to the rest of life. It’s been here all along!
New possibility: You realize you can enjoy yourself, and you’re receptive to what’s here, seeing yourself, situations, and other people with fresh eyes.
When you decide to accept, you enter the world of authentic living. You see things as they are. You consider your options and choose wisely. You’re no longer willing to stay stuck.
And acceptance brings with it some secret, surprising side effects. Make it a practice to accept what is, and effortlessly, you’ll feel relief. What used to bother you is dealt with immediately. You’re spacious, peaceful, open to others, kind to yourself. And you find clarity in your choices moving forward.
You can spend your energy denying, defending, and avoiding, or you can accept. The choice is in your hands…
What About You?
Have you been denying and avoiding? What have you discovered when you shift to accepting? Please share in the comments—it helps everyone… And if you’re reading by email, please click here to comment.
Note: Please click here for information on our next live meeting in Santa Barbara.