The definition of acceptance from the work of Brad Stulberg is “ taking stock of a situation and seeing it clearly for what it is- whether we like it or not”.
“Whether we like it or not”….that's a tough pill to swallow. You see, part of this definition of acceptance brings to the forefront that we are not in control. That no matter how hard we work at creating a safety net or the perfect plan, unexpected things will happen no matter what.
This can be daunting or a big relief, depending on how you see it. Let me explain
As soon as I learned that things I constantly worry about such as illness, economy, and the actions of other people are just a few of the many things outside of our control, a sudden cloud of anxiety covered me.
I am a bit of a perfectionist, this scared me. But, at the same time I realize now that this actually frees my time, energy, and mind towards the things I CAN control.
As one of my great mentors , Chad Bailey, once told me: “Worrying is absolutely useless as it does more harm to you with nothing productive in return”. So, Hakuna Matata
You see, it's only when we truly accept our position or situation can we then come up with a game plan for change or improvement.
It's like fighting fire with fire. IF we are constantly rejecting our situation and hoping for a different one it's a losing battle.
I myself realized this early on with my health.
There came a time where I felt awful, stressed out, and just miserable to be around. Being a business owner was getting to me, graduate school was taking a toll, and physically I wasn't healthy. But it was only when I stopped running from my situation that I was able to see clearly the funk I was in.
You could also be :
I believe this applies.
In Stulberg work he references clinical physiologist Steven Hayes work where he found that the stronger we try to avoid or run from uncomfortable circumstances, thoughts, feelings, and urges the stronger they are likely to become,
It was only when I acknowledged and accepted the situation I was running away from (stressed out biz owner and struggling student) and started to incorporate the steps below consistently, did I start to develop inner strength, self-compassion, and outward change.
1) Accept where you are
2) Step back, take a breath, and see clearly the situation
3) Before you start to judge yourself, practice self compassion and repeat “ This is what is happening now. I'm doing the best I can”
4) Once you have taken the time and space to evaluate your situation, now its time to choose the option that aligns with you and your values. This is conscious choice making vs impulsive reaction
Lastly, stress or challenges don’t simply go away or get smaller, but we have the opportunity to become stronger and more resilient if we take time to develop the skills to do so.