We all want to feel the best we can. You may take vitamins, exercise, and attend annual check-ups, but you may not have considered how practicing the art of acceptance can dramatically improve how you feel.
You also may not think of acceptance as something you consciously choose. Yet if you learn to practice accepting what is — meaning the circumstances you can’t change — you may enjoy a beneficial impact to your health and to your happiness.
Acceptance is defined as the action of consenting to receive something offered. It’s easy to practice acceptance when you’re offered something good, like a desirable job proposal, an unexpected windfall, or even a kind compliment.
It’s when what’s offered to you isn’t something you would intentionally choose or want: The death of a loved one, the end of a marriage, a malignant diagnosis, or even irreconcilable differences with a dear friend.
Being at odds with the way things are causes inner turmoil. It builds stress and tension within. Often, that refusal to accept what is spills into your emotions and affects those you love. It may even damage what is good in your life.
A struggle with acceptance robs you of peace. Denial or refusal to accept your circumstances can lead to frustration and fear. This can eventually take you into the darkness and depths of despair. This negative energy prevents you from recognizing productive options to overcome, react, and rise above.
When you can come to accept what is, you are not giving in. Instead, you are inviting peace. When you surrender the struggle and gracefully accept, you create space within you to feel freedom. You free up your mind and energy to more constructive thoughts and actions serving you better mentally, emotionally, and physically.
A big part of practicing acceptance in your life is letting go of expectations — of others or of yourself. You can choose to relinquish control. Once you let go of how you wanted the situation to be, you can begin to paint a new picture of what is.
Intentionally choosing acceptance is different than settling. Acceptance is a compassionate and loving act of self-care. Accepting situations you can’t change takes grace and courage. Your energy and essence are more useful when applied to creating mindful moments of gratitude and appreciation, rather than using your energy to change what you cannot.
Acceptance is also very much about being in the present moment. It’s different from being OK with what happened 10 years ago, yesterday, or even an hour ago. It’s about being aware at this very moment and willing to allow the situation to be what it is, with as little judgment as possible. If you ever want to move on and move forward from the circumstances that you don’t like but are beyond your control — you must accept.
Digging in your heels with refusal will not change the situation. Instead, it will create stagnant, blocked energy — the kind of festering anxiousness or prolonged sadness that can make you sick from high blood pressure, depression, palpitations, indigestion, and other stress-related disorders.
There’s a saying: “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” You can’t avoid challenges and undesired situations in life, but you can choose how you respond.
Choose to feel better through practicing acceptance.