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  • Writer's pictureRyan Wilson

The Art of Acceptance

We hear more and more that “we just have to accept our circumstances” – but what does that mean? And why do people say that? How will that make our life better?

Some people think acceptance means

Resignation is being passive, choosing to be helpless and accepting defeat. I have yet to meet anyone who feels strong and healthy when they are engaging with that crew!

So what does it mean to be Accepting and WHY should we do it?

1. Acceptance reduces suffering. Let’s look at an analogy…

If I  accept that my leg is broken, I am more likely problem solve how I can most easily get from point A to point B and would be far more likely to succeed and with a whole lot less suffering. I might use crutches, ask a friend for help or roll there on a swivel chair. The possibilities are endless, but only once we accept our current circumstances.

Another analogy that I really like is one I heard on

2. It allows us to move forward. We have talked about how we are a social species and sometimes even just having a witness to our pain and suffering is healing. The truth is, that before we can allow someone else to bear witness to our life we must first be our own witness, by fully acknowledging what it is we have gone through- all of it, free of rose coloured glasses or the entitlement of victimhood, just focusing on what you have been through- only then can you be clear on what your healthy next steps must be.

So HOW do we do it? 

Learning the ART of ACCEPTANCE


2. Then we CONSIDER WHAT WE WANT (e.g., a meaningful job, or a healthy relationship where you are appreciated and your boundaries are respected etc).

3. Finally we out the first two steps together and say

Common Obstacles

1. Acceptance without Willingness

It is like the difference between the novice (new) runner and the seasoned (experienced) runner- the novice runner struggles to run regularly because they tend to focus on how hard it is to get going, the seasoned runner tends to focus on how much better they feel when they run and have a much easier time running regularly.

All that to say, if you are struggling to stick with sitting with and facing your distressing thoughts, feelings or insights, using self-compassion paired with focusing on how it will feel to be free from the baggage you are carrying can go a long way.

2. Not wanting to “see” the problem until we can see a solution.

When we can’t think of a solution that we are ok with,

This is especially likely to happen when we know that the solution will be difficult, like ending a friendship, a relationship or setting boundaries with family or co-workers that may make others upset with us.

As always, we would love to hear from you. Send us an email, or join us on Twitter at @DrAdrianaWilson or @KRyanWilson. Until next week!

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