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  • Writer's pictureKarol Kosinski

Acceptance

Imagine Sarah, caught in a downpour on her way to an important meeting. Frustrated, she curses the rain, her day already ruined. Her frustration feels valid, doesn't it? Yet...it's only weather. Sarah, like so many of us, struggles with the one thing beyond our control: life itself.


True change begins when we grasp this paradox:  the only moment we truly own is right now. Relinquishing our illusion of control is the key. But why is that so difficult? Let's dive into what acceptance really means and how to embrace it.


Understanding Control – and What Lies Beyond


Take a few moments to ask yourself:  What can I control? The environment? People around me? Even my own emotions?  Sure, we might guess how we’ll feel next, but those are just predictions. Have you ever experienced unwanted emotions? Did resisting them banish them?  Carl Jung explained, "What you resist, persists."   When we push away discomfort, we actually empower it.  So, if struggle doesn't work, what does?


Acceptance.


Reflect for a moment on the meaning of acceptance.  Does it make you feel at ease, or bring up feelings of resistance? Many people misunderstand this concept. To some, it implies passivity, even giving up on one's own fate. It's actually quite easy to confuse acceptance with apathy – that feeling of numbness where there's no or little emotions, no joy, but also no hope for improvement.  True acceptance, though, is an active process. I think it’s fair to compare to muscles, exercising acceptance makes it stronger. 


Like forgiveness, it might require repeated effort.  Think of the cyclical nature of our world: day becomes night, the moon orbits, Earth circles the sun. Our emotions follow similar patterns. They arrive, linger, and fade. Judging them only intensifies their impact. Acceptance breaks the cycle – we feel the discomfort without fighting it, and so eventually, its power lessens. This frees us to navigate challenges with grace.


Practical Steps Toward Acceptance


There's no single path to acceptance – what works for someone else might not be right for you. Honesty, persistence, and an open mind are crucial as you find your way. What matters isn't feeling better but becoming better at feeling. Conscious awareness paves the way for change. Here are some tools to build your acceptance muscles:


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) offers this three-part framework:


Wake Up: Break free from mental scripts. See that this present moment is vibrant, even with its messiness. This moment offers potential you can only access when you step out of your mind's constant storytelling.


Loosen Up:  Like Bruce Lee said, "Be water." Life's currents will carry you forward whether you fight or not. Soften your struggle.  Observe unwanted thoughts and feelings like passing clouds. Accept they appear, but don't cling to them. This fosters inner peace.


Step Up: Discover what gives your life meaning. Ask yourself, “What truly matters to me?” Define your guiding principles and act in ways that align with those values.  This isn't about molding yourself to what society expects, but crafting a life that lights your spirit.


Let Go to Move Forward


As mentioned, emotions carry an internal charge that fuels their intensity and volume.  Surrendering to discomfort doesn't add to them.  This lets us reconsider old beliefs, find healthier ways to deal with triggers, and choose more life-giving responses.


There's so much more to explore about acceptance.  I hope this sparks your curiosity, leading you toward deeper self-understanding.

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