Stop Thinking Things Should Be a Certain Way – How to Get to Acceptance

Issue 2. December 9, 2022 ✨ Higher Power Coaching & Consulting

tattooed woman looking like she accepts herself
photo credit: Toa Heftiba

If you’re constantly pissed off at things like the barista getting your coffee order wrong or that there’s traffic on the highway, you might need to learn acceptance.

That was my problem for most of my life. Once I started to understand that lack of acceptance was my problem, things began to change. I came to understand that it wasn’t the coffee order or the traffic – it was my thinking was the source of all my problems.

It became clear that my difficulty was because, deep down, I had a belief that these things SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING!

That thinking IS the problem!

We don’t get to decide if something SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be happening. It IS happening. What we get to do is decide what we’re going to do about it.

Acceptance means focusing on what is actually happening, not what you think SHOULD BE happening.

“You cannot solve a problem by condemning it” is a quote that comes to mind here.

When you get pissed off that you got the wrong coffee or that there’s a lot of traffic, you’re condemning these “problems.” But the problem is actually your thinking.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like it. But it does mean you stop resisting what’s happening.  

Perhaps you’re like me and you’ve heard these sayings before…

“Don’t take a snowstorm personally, put on boots.”

“Better to put slippers on your feet than to carpet the world.”

I had no fucking idea what those sayings really meant until I got into recovery and really, deeply learned the meaning of acceptance at how to do it.

They’re basically reminding you to focus on what you can change and accept what you can’t as the Serenity Prayer says. You can focus on the world around you – or –  you can adapt yourself, adapt your thinking.

If you resist the situation, then you won’t do anything about it. But if you accept it, you have some hope of affecting the situation because you might actually take action. If you’re busy fighting against what is, it’s hard to take meaningful action.

A couple of areas in which acceptance has been really profound for me are emotional acceptance and self-acceptance.

Our emotions build on each other. If I felt worried, then got angry that I was worried, those emotions combined and my worry was multiplied.

But…. if I feel worried and accept that I’m worried, then I only have the original feeling without adding additional emotion to it. So if you’re worried, just be worried. It will pass. Emotions are energy and they will morph and change.

The most important kind of acceptance for me has been self-acceptance. Remember, you can’t change something by condemning it. When you learn something about yourself that you don’t particularly like, remember – it’s Info, Not Ammo!

You’re never going to beat yourself up into being a sane, rational, functional mature person. If you accept that you have certain traits or you did that thing instead of fighting it, it will allow you to face reality and work toward the kind of life you want. Starting right now, in the present moment.

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