ACCEPTANCE IS NOT THE SAME THING AS GIVING UP
Acceptance. This word has been popping up lately and it's powerful. Acceptance can be confused with resignation or giving up, and let me assure you: it is not that.
Something magical happens when we reach a true acceptance of ourselves right here in the present moment. Our energy shifts away from that fearful, desperate longing for things to be other than they are and turns into an expansive love.
There's a sneaky message in that grasping for change that says "I have to be different, or things have to be different in order for me to be okay, or the world to be okay." It creates an impossible task and keeps you from feeling okay right here right now.
I will be the first to say I have absolutely gone to that place so many times. For me, it's a link to shame. Meaning, "I am inherently wrong and if I was different then I'd be worthy of love, acceptance"... you name it.
If you can relate to this, just know that it's normal! It is a survival mechanism, typically developed in very young years when we literally may have had to adapt/change/contort ourselves in order to survive. When we can notice that pattern of thinking and pause, we have already made strides.
When we can practice trying on the belief that "if nothing were to change, I love and accept myself" or "I am open to loving myself exactly as I am" then we can take action in our lives from a place of love rather than fear.
Fear keeps us stuck, contracted, closed off. Love is expansive, freeing, and sustainable.
I know it's easier said than done and I'll be practicing this for a lifetime. What I have noticed with practicing acceptance is that I beat myself up way less, and instead apply love to the parts of me that I used to be ashamed of.
As it turns out, when we practice this way of loving ourselves, our capacity to show compassion and empathy to others grows as well. Love is (and feels) expansive in our body, fear is (and feels) contracting in our body. Radical acceptance of things exactly as they are creates true freedom to grow.
If you are curious about tools to help practice acceptance, two of my favorite resources are Byron Katie and Steven Hayes' books. I also offer coaching and breathwork which can be very helpful in this practice. With practice we can actually create and strengthen new pathways in the brain!
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