Acceptance is NOT pretending to like something.
Self-acceptance is not pretending to like what you are experiencing, or that everything is ‘perfect.’
I feel the need to repeat that.
Accepting something is NOT:
pretending to like it, be ‘OK” with it, or anything of the sort.
Accepting something also does not suggest that you’re fine with it never changing, or that you won’t proactively take steps in order to help it change.
I’ve seen SO many people beating themselves up, coming to me with the challenge of:
“I just can’t get to acceptance. I’m trying, but I just don’t like it. I want it to change. I know I’m supposed to be accepting… ”
That last part is dripping with things they’ve been taught from spiritual teachers and ‘acceptance’ philosophies.
To me, acceptance is much more of a recognition of what is actually happening, including your genuine, honest feelings about it.
You can hate something, and accept the fact that you hate it.
You might wish something else was happening. You might be disgusted by it, resent it, or feel like it’s the worst thing in the world.
You can ACCEPT that this is your experience, so-called negative feelings and all.
Essentially, as I see it, it means you are not going into denial.
You’re not lying to yourself, trying to be ‘spiritual’ about it, or anything of the sort.
I often prefer to use the word acknowledge over accept, as it tends to be more neutral.
I can acknowledge:
- This is here. This IS happening.
- This is my diagnosis. My IRA is down 70%. My business had to close.
- I wish this wasn’t the case.
- These are the emotions that are coming up…
In my ebook “You’re Not a Repair Project” (get it here if you haven’t yet), which outlines the essence of my approach to inner work and emotional healing – I focus heavily on shifting your relationship to your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
This approach emphasizes listening, curiosity, compassion and interest in what is happening inside of you.
If what is happening inside you happens to be anger, rage, extreme discomfort, physical or emotional pain, this is an approach you can practically use.
You recognize, acknowledge, ‘accept’ that this uncomfortable experience is happening. Instead of immediately running away from it, trying to transcend it or getting into your head to deny or reframe it.
This is also self-acceptance, as you are honoring what you truly feel, no matter how unpleasant.
An Essential Step
It is necessary to ‘accept’ or acknowledge something is happening, in order to truly investigate it.
If you slip, fall and break your arm, it’s not going to do yourself much good to say “everything happens for a reason, I’m fine, I’m not the body, this is actually a good thing” and then try to continue using it as normal.
That’s not acceptance.
In this example, it’s obvious that the consequences of that could be catastrophic for the healing of your injury.
Unfortunately, there are severe consequences happening all the time for more subtle, emotional forms of denial and avoidance.
“This happened. This is painful, I need to take a deep breath, get this looked at” and then go with whatever happens next. Maybe you need a cast, maybe surgery.
You might hate it, and resent that it happened to you.
You ACCEPT the truth that this resentment is what you truly feel, and that you don’t like the required next step.
Then there is space for those emotions to actually process, for there to be less resistance, more energy for the body to heal and repair.
From this position, new solutions sometimes present themselves beyond what you could imagine.
This is only amplified if you use the tools laid out in the book, meditate, use energy tools such as EFT if they resonate with you, work with others and so on.
In the example of EFT, you’ll notice that the first part of the process involves acknowledging the reality of the situation, and stating an acceptance of yourself and your truth.
“Even though I have this injury, and I hate it, and am pushing against it, I choose to accept myself anyway.”
Again, this is very different from denying your experience, trying to change it, and so on. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. We work FROM the place of acceptance, which creates a foundation for things to actually shift as appropriate.
Do not put pressure on yourself to be some sort of buddha-like lover and greeter of all experiences just yet.
What you can begin to do, which will actually help you tremendously on the path, is see this process more as a recognition and acknowledgement of what is actually happening –
INCLUDING how you actually feel about it, no matter how dark those feelings seem to be.
It’s ultimately the truth that will set you free, so start from your truth.
I hope this helps.
There are many ways to cultivate this acceptance.
Here is an EFT video on self-acceptance, and I will have other non-tapping related resources about this process (in addition to the ebook) on my channel as it’s so key to inner work.