5-5-19 Acceptance

Acceptance: To recognize and honor the simple truth and reality of what has happened.
To acknowledge difficulty in your life without escaping from it or avoiding it.
To acknowledge the healthy, joyous and kind aspects of yourself, without diluting them.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I ACCEPT that person, place, thing or situation, as being exactly the way it is…. I need to concentrate not so much what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes…If I focus on a problem, the problem gets bigger; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases.” Big Book.

Acceptance is the first step in recognizing. It’s an awareness of knowing a situation for what it honestly is…not a personal twist, denial or manipulation to make it what we want it to be. It’s a straightforward, simple and real knowing of what is. No story lines, no blame or guilt.

Acceptance means opening up and making room for painful feelings and sensations. We learn how to drop the struggle with them, give them some breathing space, and let them be there without getting all caught up in them, or overwhelmed by them. We have an experience without becoming the experience.

Some of us have gone through trauma in our lives. We cannot easily accept difficulties that carry a lot of pain. We CAN accept that we need help to work with our traumas, and what course of action, if any, would be best to take. We can seek a course of action informed by our values, our hearts and a spiritual sense of reality—even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable. We can believe that taking action to move through our troubles will help us to heal and grow into who we truly and fully are.

The first step is accepting the fact that we are personally responsible for whatever our state of mind is right now. “You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.” –Stewart O’Nan

“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.” –C. JoyBell C.

It is completely meaningless to complain about things. Negative people drain everyone around them. Instead, ask yourself, “What can I do to solve the problem?” And if you can’t solve it, where can you focus your energy more productively? What things can you control? And what things are you wasting your time and energies on?

It’s also important that we NOT act out blindly from a place of judgement, fear, or aggression. Old, familiar behaviors can tempt us to react negatively and harmfully to a situation, or to life in general. When we feel the tension and wrongness those behaviors bring, we need to accept them, and also accept that we CAN pause, breathe, let our hearts and minds grow, and respond from a more balanced, kind place. Takes practice. Well worth it. That is how we grow, Awareness, acceptance, discipline, and joy.

When we sit in meditation, we learn to observe our thoughts, very much like observing the clouds in the sky. We’re not trying to control the experience, we’re just accepting and observing. Do you get upset at the clouds because they are not forming the shapes YOU want? Acceptance is simple and honest observation. It’s what happens BEFORE you choose to act. Acceptance is what allows you to act wisely, versus just reacting. Acceptance is what frees us to choose wisely.

Acceptance is a DISCIPLINE, not just a “whatever” state of mind. For transformation to take place in us, we have to actually make friends with our mind. We have to learn to like ourselves. This is the opposite of a “get rich quick” scheme. It only comes from the willingness to be with ourselves, nakedly, openly, and lovingly, again and again over a long period of time. We can actually come to like ourselves. Liking ourselves is the result of acceptance. This is a radical way of thinking, but, come on — you’ve always wanted to be a radical, haven’t you?

Learn to see and appreciate what you have, as opposed to giving too much attention to what you’ve lost or what you are hoping for. Open up to what is truly beautiful and important in life. The truth is, every experience is new, and it’s up to you how complete or lacking it seems. As the Buddhist teacher said, “You are perfect just the way you are ——— And you could use a little work.”

If we only offer conditional love, we are trying to manipulate and change someone to what we think they should be, not accepting who they are. When we permit ourselves to be swayed in our behavior by fear and the need to accommodate or placate someone, we deny our true and healthy self, and are settling for conditional self-love. We need to accept such behavior, recognize it’s less than beneficial, and accept that we can and will do better. We will be brave and loving towards ourselves and others in thought and action. We won’t just think it’s a good idea and never really embody it or act on it; rather, we’ll choose to accept that we need to step into our fears, to act the best we can, and to live a full, kind and honorable life.

Take on the curiosity of a child. Open up and explore life as if it were your first day here. No time is better spent than getting to know yourself, and fully accepting and LOVING yourself. Your choices will then seem to flow from a river of bounty. This is how we learn to accept and love others, and ourselves, just as we are.

How do you fill your bucket? One acceptance at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.
Heart of Recovery web site – fcheartofrecovery.com