Acceptance creates the space for change to occur. I struggled with this concept for a long time. To me, acceptance felt like failure. I’ve always been a fighter, pushing to do everything early, to accomplish more, to be better than I used to be. So accepting where I was felt like giving up. What I’ve learned on my spiritual path of healing is actually that acceptance is quite the opposite of giving up.
It is the missing ingredient when things are going wrong and you’re trying to focus on making positive changes, but you feel like you just keep hitting wall after wall. It is the security door that you have to open before you can open the front door to change.
I know with all of the law of attraction talk these days, it’s common to hear advice to not focus on your present circumstances, and to instead focus on feeling as if you’re living the life you want. I totally get that, and I think it’s a great practice. However, what I’ve found to be true for myself and my clients, is that what actually needs to come first is some truth. Have you ever seen, or even been, that person that’s caught in an unhealthy cycle, maybe an addiction or a toxic relationship, and they know they’re miserable, but the denial and/or shame is so strong they can’t seem to make any changes? The reason they can’t make changes is not because they’re weak, or they don’t want to. It’s because they haven’t taken the time to get real with themselves and look at what’s going on in their present moment.
Over a year ago I hit an emotional low. I was suffering from massive anxiety and severe depression, even though I was using affirmations and positive thinking. I just couldn’t seem to kick my mental state, and it was beginning to take a toll on my physical health. When I was able to finally get truthful with myself, to look at my life and re-evaluate where I was, it became pretty obvious why I was feeling the way I was feeling. My anxiety at that time was stemming from being out of alignment with my current life style, and refusing to acknowledge it because I was trying to force myself to be happy. This was when I had my huge acceptance break through.
As I got truthful with myself through journaling, prayer, and meditation, I started to be able to accept my life for what it was in that moment. As I came into acceptance, I could stop fighting so hard 24/7 and instead focus my energy on solutions. As I focused my energy on the solutions, on taking one step at a time, things began to shift. And no, transformation didn’t happen over night, but over the next 6 months, things started to get better. I began to even see some of my circumstances differently. Acceptance started to change the way I experienced my reality. It melted away my resistance, which had been blocking the changes I was desiring. This caused such a tremendous break through for me, I felt called to share it with my clients when it pertained to their lives. I found that when people could have a moment of truth and acceptance of their realities, in a non-judgmental kind of way, it opened them up for solutions. It melted their resistance, just like it did mine. Acceptance paved the way for real, lasting change.
Putting this into action in your own life can look a few ways. A simple exercise I recommend is starting to pray, meditate, and journal. All in the same time block. A simple prayer can be “God, please show me what’s true for me in my life right now.” Or “God, please help me see my reality.” Then, meditate on that for five minutes, allowing God to answer you. After five minutes of meditation, take your journal and just free write some of the answers that came to you, adding on as you go. Start looking at your life as it’s written down on paper. Don’t judge anything that comes up, just look at it. What isn’t working for you anymore? Remind yourself that you’ve been doing the best you can do, and now that you’re looking at what’s going on, you can see where you need to make changes- don’t go into any self shaming. As you see areas of your life, relationships, habits, that aren’t aligned with you anymore, start a new prayer, meditation, journal exercise, praying on where to start to make changes in this area. And start small. Keep it small and simple, but consistent. As you accept where things aren’t working, it will get easier to find solutions, instead of feeling overwhelmed by not feeling how you think you should feel. As you see changes begin to happen, you’ll start to feel like you’re moving forward, which will help bring you some relief and more motivation. Sometimes it’s good to even say “I accept that I’m on my journey moving forward. I know good things are coming.” It will help give your patience with the process while you’re in the beginning stages. And then when you achieve the changes you’ve been wanting, take a moment to accept the amazing miracles happening for you. Let yourself feel that success fully, and celebrate it- you deserve to!
I’d like to end with this, life is ever changing. We will all experience the ebb and flow of good and bad, and every so often, we will need to check in, re-evaluate, and make changes where needed. It doesn’t mean you’ve been doing things wrong, or that you’ve failed. It simply means you’re ready for the next step. Don’t make yourself wrong if you feel off, instead, acknowledge what’s going on, accept where you’re at, make room for the solution to come in, and always prioritize your happiness!