Acceptance Or Change?

  • You are a lovely soul. You were put here on earth, or landed here through the work of your ancestors, to live a life. You get to make lots of choices, hopefully, but probably you do not have a perfect life. Even the people we pick — partners and friends- do not always live up to our expectations and needs. And the people we didn’t pick — family or coworkers- probably don’t either. They all have their own agendas. The plans and dreams and struggles of others don’t always help us and sometimes hurt us quite a lot.
  • Feelings. They are not always acceptable. At least not at first look. You may want to shut down all anger, pain, sadness, and shame. You may want to pretend they aren’t there. Acceptance of all those feelings doesn’t seem like such a good idea. What if acceptance makes the feelings stick around? Better to just try to be happy all the time. Lots of lovely quotes recommend being happy!
  • Pain. Most of us have some pain in our bodies from time to time, if not ALL the time. Are we supposed to accept even pain? Do we have to?
  • Politics, World hunger, Injustice. I group these together because, well, they are long term problems. They probably do require both acceptance and change. In general, I know that, but in the details, in the stories of everyday, I do not feel acceptance. Frustration, anger, despair? Yes. Acceptance, no.
  • First, choose to pay attention. When something feels painful or scary, many times our first reaction is to avoid thinking or feeling about it. We notice, then look away, metaphorically. We flinch and avoid. Instead, let your attention rest at the edge of your discomfort. Breathe and stay with it. Don’t try to change it right now. Allow the discomfort to be there. Just “sit” with it with all the kindness you can muster.
  • Notice if you are judging yourself for having these feelings. It’s very easy to slip into self-blame and shame. If you realize you’re doing that, try to let it go for now. Judging yourself or others is a defense again feeling the discomfort.
  • Allow yourself to relax other parts of your body and mind.Sometimes a problem in one area causes us to tense up or compensate in another area. It is easy to see this with physical pain. We begin walking funny when our hips hurt, for example. Pretty soon a knee will began hurting. Notice that this can happen with other parts of life: relationship stress becomes work stress and vice-versa. Consciously let go, relax, accept and enjoy good feelings in other areas of your body or your life.

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