The Nature Of Acceptance

By Alan Larsen 01/15/19
The Nature Of Acceptance

"While pain is inevitable, struggling is optional." - Anonymous 

We beat ourselves up so much when we experience unpleasant feelings. Ironically, this battle to not feel anxious, sad or angry, ultimately only causes us to feel worse. Opting for acceptance, instead of resistance, of our inner emotional experiences is what is considered to be among the most efficient approaches. Trying to fight the inevitable, to be on a constant quest for euphoria, is actually counter productive.

The struggle lies within the mess we create when we try not to feel the pain. When we tell ourselves we shouldn't feel that way, when we numb ourselves, when we say we can't handle these feelings.
Acceptance is key of our unpleasant emotions. 

Acceptance is a wonderful skill to practice because we can apply it not only in relationship to our internal experiences (thoughts, feelings, etc.) but also to external experiences. It's not only our inner emotional experiences that we don't have 100% control over, each and every day we encounter events and people outside of us that we cannot control either.

We seek this feeling of control in order to find a sense of comfort in the looming uncertainty that we are faced with day after day. And this can manifest itself as worry, perfectionist-like tendencies, disordered eating, avoidance of certain people or situations that cause us uncomfortable feelings…the list is endless.

In the face of pain and the fears that come along with it, it is so tempting to seek control over acceptance. Acceptance requires us to be brave, courageous and human. To leap into the unknown, trusting we will create a net to catch ourselves, regardless of what lies ahead. And it is an attitude that can only happen in the here and now which means learning to balance a carpe diem mentality with the responsibility of planning for tomorrow, and finding balance in life is a challenge in and of itself.

I believe that seeking balance is one of the greatest challenges we have in our time here on earth. And facing the present moment with a curious and accepting attitude can remind us that uncertainty does not always have to equal pain. I know for myself that whenever I step off the beaten path and get over my initial jitters brought on by the unknown, something as simple as a change of scenery brings a change of perception and an entirely new appreciation of what it means to be ALIVE.

The truth is that you don't have any possible way of knowing what will happen in the next five minutes. Not in terms of your internal experience of thoughts and feelings, nor your external experience of events and people that surround you. However, it is only in acceptance of this reality that come along with our human existence that we can truly begin to embrace each moment for what it truly is.

 

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