Moving right along in our series in honour of Mental Health Week, today we examine a concept that has proven to be very helpful in getting us through challenging times and building resilience to adversity. That is: Acceptance.
Think about how riled up we get when we are in an argument with someone; everything in our body is poised and our defense system is tuned up and we are ready to act. The same type of thing occurs in our minds when we fight against our feelings and instincts. Sometimes that tendency comes naturally – perhaps we grew up with learned associations to our feelings (“It is not safe to share my feelings,” “I am not allowed to get angry,” “My reaction is to over-react,”). Perhaps the expectations that others had of us moves us away from our instincts (“I must achieve to be successful,” “I am responsible for other people’s feelings.”)
When we aim to be more accepting, it can include:
- Authenticity of self: observing and accepting our feelings. Understanding that our opinion matters. Moving from a position of “I am important and so are you.” Exploring who we are in terms of our values and interests.
- Recognizing that challenges are going to be present in our lives. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can choose how we will respond to it. Fighting against it or staying in “poor me” mode will only prolong the suffering. Leaning into “It is what it is, now what do I do about it” is a healthier alternative.
- Reserve immediate judgement of others. If our reaction to others is quick and without and open mind to their experience or opinion, it might be an indication that we are in a place of non-acceptance.
Acceptance is a concept that has the ability to allow us to feel grounded, settled, and at peace. When we choose to become more accepting of ourselves, others and our circumstances, our well-being is foundationally stronger.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@sonance