Acceptance gets a bad rap, it is so often confused with resignation, defeat or, worse completely giving up. Acceptance is a calming sensation toward your reality, a shift where struggle dissolves and clarity dawns. I read a book today called: “ The Art of Power & Acceptance” by Ashley Davis Bush. It was such a great read, I wanted to share my XPERIENCE with you all about acceptance.
We have all been in a place of struggle, lord knows I have. We resist the difficulties because we see them as a threat and we subconsciously try to fight them with everything we have, but by doing so we are only making it worse. Our bodies go into a fight or flight mentality and we end up doing more damage to ourselves then the actual issue was causing us in the first place. Like, how freaking crazy does that actually sound? We are doing more harm to ourselves! So where do we start? We start with ourselves, because if we can’t get ourselves to a point of acceptance we can’t move forward. Whether you’re accepting another person, a circumstance or something of the past, acceptance begins with your feelings about the situation and most importantly how you treat yourself. When you can be compassionate with yourself, you’re more easily able to accept reality. I had a really hard time with being compassionate towards myself, I was always very compassionate and empathetic to others, but not myself. I was very hard on myself, mainly because I was on my own trying to make the best for myself. But in all reality I was destroying myself. I didn’t realize I was causing myself pain until I was about one year into my yoga practice and started reading more. I started with a book about yoga (which is in my reading is enlightenment blog) and as I understood the content it opened me up so much more mentally and spiritually. It wasn’t about doing the postures, but more about the mind and how it works and the work WE need to do for ourselves. “With acceptance, even though nothing changes, everything changes.”
The Latin word of “accept” means “to take toward yourself.” Some of you will say to yourself, ok Amanda I am just supposed to accept that I hate my job, or I’m in debt, or I’m in a bad relationship?? NO, I am not saying that, but regarding those types of situations you have to learn how to accept, but properly. This is where ACT comes into play (exercise in the book). ACT is Acknowledge, Connect, Talk Kindly. So let’s take “I hate my job” for example. Acknowledge: hating your job.
Connect: know there are so many people out there that have the same feeling.
Talk kindly: talk to yourself in third person and tell yourself that things are going to be just fine and make positive thoughts to change the way you feel. I‘m sure after reading this far you all are like is she away with the fairies right now?! If you repeat ACT every time you are going through something it will help your acceptance which will bring you to a place of positivity and you will see good things happen (really it’s a thing). This exercise is also a form of self-compassion. Talking kindly to yourself at the end of the exercise enhances your self compassion. It is ok to be nice to yourself and tell yourself it will all be ok. Compassion comes from our innate capacity to love others. Self compassion is the turning point of that loving attention inward. Because what you practice consistently gets stronger over time, self-compassion will become your new default response to everything so you won’t find your self struggling or stuck. It will not be easy, just like yoga when I started I couldn’t even touch my toes and I was so frustrated with myself. I wanted to be a pro and I wanted it at that very moment. It took a while to understand that practice is how you achieve what you want for your mind, body, and soul. Accepting yourself is an ever-changing process, a unique relationship with you. You are here at this moment in human history; a combination of DNA never to be repeated. You are as unique as a snowflake, irreplaceable. There has never been, and never will be again, you are exactly as you are now. Accept that! As we go on the journey to acceptance for ourselves we also have to include acceptance of others and circumstances. There are circumstances where you will get hurt by someone. I have been there, and before I read this book I would hold the grudge and not forgive (typical Italian). Forgiving someone for hurting me sounded so stupid. Then I realized after reading a few books, that hurt people hurt people. When a person is not happy with themselves they will put that on others, unfortunately. What we need to realize is holding a grudge is only harming us more. We have to understand that every human in every country and culture simply longs to be loved. So this is where we need to be grateful to everyone. When someone is challenging you or hurting you, you have to look past that exterior and know this is happening because they are hurting (most likely about something that doesn’t have to do with you). If you can look at that person and feel compassion for them even in such a bad state towards you, you have reached self-compassion. I am not saying we have to be out here in the streets staying in bad relationships or whatever the case maybe. I am saying wishing others well, there is a Buddhist practice called: metta bhavana it is a practice of wishing well to others everyday day. I ask you all to take each morning (5 minutes) sit queitly and have gratitude for:
2. A loved one
3. A stranger you came in counter with the previous day
4. Someone you are in conflict with
5. All beings all over the world.
In each stage say what you want to that person/persons. Maybe one needs peace, maybe one needs love, maybe one needs kindness. Keep your eyes closed during this, and I promise you it will make you feel absolutely amazing and best of all they will feel that energy in the universe. You will be filled with so much love and compassion to yourself and others it will open up a world of opportunities and XPERIENCES. Acceptance is apart of the journey we just need to accept it. When you allow the process of acceptance to happen, it does not mean that you actually like what you are accepting. But it does mean that you will relax into the moment without struggle. When you truly let it be, with compassion, you then have the freedom to turn toward the future.
MUCH LOVE, XOXO
The Art & Power of Acceptance: Ashley Davis Bush (Must READ)