Acceptance Reduces Suffering and Makes Room for Change
The moment that judgment stops through acceptance of what it is,you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.-Eckhart Tolle
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.– Lao Tzu
My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. – Michael J. Fox
Acceptance is often a necessary process for creating change and reducing suffering. It is a fundamental piece of several proven therapies. Some include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD., Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy).
Acceptance is a simple concept, and at the same time is really difficult. Marsha Linehan, creator of DBT, offers some ideas about acceptance. First, she clarifies that acceptance does not mean approval or disapproval of what is being accepted. It means acknowledging on purpose without a label of “good” or “bad”. She also offers that in order to accept, one must recognize his or her own willfulness or non-acceptance. One way to recognize non-acceptance is to listen to your inner dialogue. If you hear sarcasm or statements implying what should or ought to be different about someone else, a circumstance, or yourself, you are likely in a state of non-acceptance. .
If you notice these non-acceptance thoughts, do so gently with curiosity and compassion. In other words, accept your non-acceptance. This will allow space to notice your thought and decide if you want to work toward change.
Another idea for find acceptance is recognizing this as a state of being and a process instead of a single skill that is achieved once. Linehan suggests to radically accept something; you must practice turning the mind over and over.
Acceptance of one’s thoughts, emotions, circumstance, and other people seems like a lot of work, and it is. However, it offers freedom from the suffering that comes with non-acceptance, making it worth the effort.
If you’d like to learn more about acceptance to reduce suffering and make space for change, please contact me. I can be reached at 706-425-8900 ext .703 or [email protected]