Why is acceptance so slippery and tricky? Why do we lose it, and then when we find it again, why can’t we keep it? Where does it all go wrong? How does that happen?
Acceptance is noticing how it is and understanding that “what is” has already been allowed, because it’s happening right now, in the present moment. Non-acceptance can only occur when the mind argues with the reality of what is.
We don’t have to go anywhere to find what is already here and happening right now, but we don’t necessarily have to agree with it or like it.
I remember mistakenly thinking that to find a sense of inner peace, I should become accepting and allowing of everyone and everything, but I learned that this isn’t so. Acceptance isn’t a “doing,” nor is it about changing yourself. It’s the act of noticing what is and acknowledging your authentic reaction to that—without making yourself wrong.
Universal and personal
Acceptance is both universal and personal. It’s all about being with the universal truth of how things are and the personal truth of how you are about how it is.
Those two truths help us align with the underlying sense of peace that comes with this kind of acceptance. I’ve found that, for me, it’s all about admitting my truth by not arguing with reality, or the reality of my felt experience, in response to how it is.
Neither your situational circumstances nor how you feel about them need to change for you to align with the acceptance of how it is and how you are. Absolutely nothing at all, including you, needs to be different from how it is for it to be accepted by acceptance.
We’ve all experienced our non-accepting self, and that’s perfectly OK, because paradoxically, noticing your non-acceptance is an acceptance of non-acceptance—which is, in itself, actually an acceptance of what is.
We can struggle with non-acceptance and fight it, becoming non-accepting of our non-acceptance! However, the admittance of that is, oddly enough, an acceptance of that particular mindset. So all there is for you to do is simply notice your thoughts and feelings and admit to them, and acknowledge whether you accept them or not. That is acceptance.
Acceptance is always the bottom line
Acceptance is always the bottom line. It has to be. Non-acceptance can’t go deeper than acceptance. Acceptance is the bedrock where non-acceptance can eventually rest its weary head and find relief from the desire and drive to be more accepting.
Whether you notice it or not, non-acceptance always resides within acceptance, as it’s impossible for it to be the other way around. Therefore, when we’re non-accepting, there’s always at least one more step to go, because acceptance runs deeper than non-acceptance.
Everything that exists and everything that happens has already been accepted, or it wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t have happened. What wasn’t accepted was never here and never happened!
Non-acceptance only occurs in thought, as it’s a human-made concept. So really, there’s no such thing as non-acceptance, as it’s something imagined that lives as an illusion in the unaligned mind—which, by the way, is every mind, at least sometimes.
Thinking wasn’t designed to be in alignment with anything, so there’s no need to think your way out of non-acceptance; or, for that matter, to think your way to acceptance. There really is nothing for you to do about acceptance.
Present-moment thoughts and emotions can’t be different from how they are, which means that there really isn’t any point to thinking you shouldn’t think or feel what you think and feel. That’s just thought judging and rejecting thought and the corresponding felt emotions.
Alignment and non-alignment with reality
When we’re able to accept the profound simplicity of “it is the way it is” (however bad that might feel) and allow our thoughts and feelings to occur without self-judgment, then our frustrations, or whatever it is we’re feeling, will more likely be cleanly felt.
By way of acceptance and allowing, our emotions can flow in unrestricted, unblocked ways before they then naturally dissipate. All emotions should have equal rights, without discrimination, and the freedom of movement!
There’s no doubt that it’s difficult and painful when we’re unaligned with the reality of how things are. But courageously accepting your negative thoughts and painful emotions in relation to your situation and experiences is to be in alignment with the reality of how things are for you. In contrast, the cost of non-acceptance is that to a lesser or greater extent, we become disconnected and a little unstable.
Being out of alignment is to be out of sorts, because the mind is then arguing with itself about how things are, and is out of sync with reality. To be in alignment doesn’t involve “doing,” but involves noticing, acknowledging and admitting, and it is this that aligns us with reality.
But your thoughts and feelings, all of them, are actually aligned with acceptance already. Even the most unaccepting ones are never unaligned. The more aware we are, and the less caught up in our thoughts we are, the more we’re aligned with the present moment and with what is. Sometimes this means being wedded to our pain and suffering and staying with the reality of that.
Acceptance leaves us free to take action
Once we accept our difficulties and struggles in life, we’re still free to take action to change, and we can decide to get out of unpleasant situations. For example, the victim of domestic abuse can accept that it is what it is, and then leave their abusive partner. When they’re leaving, they can accept that they’re leaving. Once they’ve found refuge and safety, they can accept that too, for that becomes how it is now.
Acceptance isn’t about putting up with anything—certainly not abuse. Acceptance isn’t about accepting what is by standing still and becoming inactive and passive.
Acceptance isn’t about putting up with anything—certainly not abuse. Acceptance isn’t about accepting what is by standing still and becoming inactive and passive. It’s about wants and desires, movement, making decisions and change. Within acceptance, you can take positive action, do things differently, follow your heart, listen to your intuition and do what’s best for you. Acceptance can be passionate and dynamic, for it includes everything.
To sum it all up, true acceptance is the cessation of arguing with how things really are, but without denying your felt experiences of reality. It’s about being open to change and making decisions that support your well-being. All of that happens within the present-moment acceptance that’s already here.
But on the other hand, you’re free to argue with how things are and resist change, as much as you want, and you’re free to judge yourself as harshly as you’d like, and even that’s accepted. We’re all free to be as non-accepting and non-aligned as we like. Regardless of whether we do something about how it is or not—whether we take action or put up with our lot—everything is already accepted and aligned.
No escape from acceptance
There’s no escape from acceptance, as it always is what it is. Acceptance accepts everything. It even accepts your non-acceptance. Whether you know it or not, you’re already aligned with the acceptance that’s already here: both the good and the bad, the positive and the negative, stillness and movement, doing and not-doing, stuck-ness and change, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer and so on.
When we can notice our non-acceptance, and accept that, then there’s nothing left to not accept.