The Healing Power of Acceptance

If we are emotionally suffering in life, in pain, anguish or discomfort it’s a sure-fire sign that we are stuck in the sinking sand of denial. That something has happened in our life that is so painful that we just cannot accept it or move past it.

It’s a place that just like real sinking sand – the more we resist and struggle to accept our situation or life circumstances – the more it can drag us down into the depths of despair and despondency. I know I’ve been there. But what if I told you that you don’t have to stay in that sad place for one moment longer?

I totally understand that when we are hurting we probably don’t want to hear about ‘acceptance’. We might think, ‘Hang on I’m sad and suffering and all I want to do is feel better. If I simply accept my reality as it is. Does that mean nothing will change?’ But the truth is actually the total opposite. Everything will change. Just like real sinking sand – when we decide to stop struggling and simply relax, we can, in fact, help to free ourselves.

Acceptance often gets bad press because like the word surrender it’s often confused with resignation, defeat, or just plain old ‘giving up’ but the type of acceptance I’m talking about couldn’t be more different. It doesn’t mean tolerating abuse, condoning bad behaviour or staying in harmful situations, it simply means shifting our perspective to a more loving, more peaceful place and releasing thoughts or feelings that hurt us.

Real acceptance asks us to let go of our desire to control and judge everything and invites us to release the pain. It’s says, ‘I may not like or understand the things life has thrown my way but I’m willing to believe there could be a greater plan going on here, even bigger than me’. Or ‘I may not be living the picture-perfect life I imagined, but I’m trusting that I’m right where I should be for my own highest good.’

We’ve all had times when we’ve struggled against the flow – resisted difficult circumstances or relationships, regretted things we’ve said or done, or wished things had gone differently but sometimes we just need to integrate our past and present into the now and see that all experiences – good and bad – were part of the journey to the present moment.

I know that is often easier said than done but just think about it for a few minutes. How often have you been in a situation when you thought it was the end of the world only to discover a little further down the line that the same said ‘terrible’ situation (that brought you to your knees and you thought was going to break you) actually catapulted you into something even bigger, brighter or better?

I remember when I was first made redundant, I put up a great resistance fighting against the decision and fighting against the establishment, sure that a great misdeed had been done. I felt hurt, undervalued and rejected. It was only when I eventually accepted that the situation and let go that I realised that this could, in fact, be a great opportunity.

I hadn’t been happy in the role for a while and what it actually did was make me re-evaluate my career and decide to take the time to re-train to become a therapist – something that I never would have considered previously. With hindsight, I can now see that that the redundancy (though difficult at the time) was a great catalyst for me and made me see very clearly that every cloud really does have a silver lining.

Whenever, people are going through difficult situations now I invite them to change their perspective and contemplate whether life has thrown them a rejection or a cosmic redirection. Perhaps there is something more aligned to your true calling just waiting for you around the corner? Or perhaps you needed to experience a painful situation to be a conduit of light to help others?

The truth is that we only really suffer when we think something is happening in our lives that should not be happening. In this respect, both struggle and suffering are creations of the mind, which is, of course, where our version of reality is created. What our mind thinks about something is key in determining how we then experience it.

If we decide that something is unwanted, wrong or bad, for example then we move into a state of resistance and denial and will probably suffer. But if, on the other hand, we can say this difficult thing has helped us expand, grow or learn. Then we can move into a state of acceptance and inner peace and can release the fear.

When we chose to see things from this higher perspective everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen in your life whether good or bad is here to help us evolve and transform.

Of course, acceptance, as a time-honoured path of emotional and spiritual healing is not a new idea. It is widely recognised in both modern psychology and sacred texts as a liberating goal. But I totally understand that getting there can sometimes seem really hard. Clearly, it’s not as simple as jumping out of the mud pit.

Acceptance can feel challenging, painful and downright impossible at times, so my heart goes out to you. If you are personally struggling right now. If something truly tragic, heart-breaking or traumatic has occurred. How to we accept the unacceptable?

The truth is sometimes we might need a little helping hand or olive branch to help us get out of the quagmire and if those little helpers do turn up they generally tend to be called ‘understanding’ and ‘compassion’. These emotions help us to relax our mind and open up our heart – allowing new possibilities, new blessings or new outcomes to be gently presented which we may have not allowed, or even considered previously.

Whether we are accepting a circumstance we hadn’t planned for; a bad relationship that went wrong or navigating a traumatic event from the past, acceptance always begins with the self first. When you can offer compassion and understanding towards yourself internally first. It lays the groundwork for wider acceptance of what has happened externally and helps us move towards a paradigm shift into healing.

Life presents us chance upon chance to change our way of reacting to old patterns, and old stories, encouraging us to evolve into the highest version of ourselves. Our hardest times will often lead to our greatest accomplishments – so don’t lose hope.
Admittedly at first glance acceptance might not conjure up the same enthusiasm as ‘joy’ or ‘happiness’. It may not sound as hopeful as ‘optimism’ or ‘resilience’. And it may not come across as inspiring as ‘success’ or ‘transformation’ and yet it is the surprising wise and truth path to all of these things and many more… Time may not heal everything but acceptance certainly will…

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