Not to be confused with “resignation”, acceptance is a game-changing habit many of us actively seek to avoid.
Before explaining acceptance, I will first describe non-acceptance – it’s a skill so deeply ingrained in our minds – that my accounts of its characteristics are likely to resonate with you.
Non acceptance is re-framing unpleasant feelings such as loneliness, unhappiness, disappointment or boredom and rationalising them to a degree where they are no longer accepted.
The harm is that you never fully take responsibility (i.e deal with) negative feelings. We walk around with catalogues of unprocessed emotional experiences because of our inclination to re-frame or distract.
But, what happens when we slow down and actually have to be alone with our emotions? It’s a sure recipe for unhappiness and/or disfunction. Everything rises to the surface eventually.
Acceptance, is a golden tool allowing you to take responsibility for your emotions. We shouldn’t be afraid of the “quiet”, i.e us verses our feelings. By embracing our feelings head on, we have a better understanding of ourselves and avoid later unhappiness.
Experiencing negative emotions is the catalyst for coveted positive states, such as a growing inner confidence“
Just remember the opposite of acceptance has high risks for our future mental health. Being unwilling to experience negative thoughts, feelings, or sensations is often the first link in a mental chain that can lead to automatic, habitual, and critical patterns of mind becoming re-established.
So instead of being selective about what you do and don’t experience in your life. Here is how to practice acceptance;
How to practice acceptance
Mindfulness (as a whole)
Mindfulness, is a deliberate thought process, encouraging you to operate in the space between emotions and reaction.
By taking an objective view over how you feel, at any one time, you can understand whether you are avoiding, or accepting an emotion, before deciding how to process it.
2. Acceptance is an active process
Acceptance is an active process – we are more inclined to hide from unpleasant emotions. Every time you practice acceptance toward something, you create and strengthen neural pathways in your brain, facilitating ease in the future.
Start to practice compassion towards yourself when you experience negative emotions – it’s not an easy thing to do but you are sure on your way an emotionally healthy life. Unresolved emotions lead to future unhappiness.
3. Develop better coping mechanisms
A by-product of actively bringing acceptance into your life is strengthening your coping mechanisms for unpleasant experiences.
It also gives you the key life lesson, that you will be okay after a bad experience and that you can “handle it”.