When we don’t accept an undesired event, it becomes Anger;
when we accept it, it becomes Tolerance.
When we don’t accept uncertainty, it becomes Fear;
when we accept it, it becomes Adventure.
When we don’t accept other’s bad behaviour towards us, it becomes Hatred;
when we accept it, it becomes Forgiveness.
When we don’t accept other’s success, it becomes Jealousy;
when we accept it, it becomes Inspiration.
Acceptance is the key to living life well.
This month at Inspire we wanted to focus on the wisdom and courage that can be found when we learn to harness the power of acceptance. To many people, acceptance connotes vulnerability and weakness, perhaps even a sense of giving up. Acceptance is none of those things; it is the opposite.
Acceptance makes room for healing, for confidence, for empowerment and for moving on. Acceptance is a transformative emotion that, in addition to being energy efficient, is infinitely more powerful than the force of fear or shame or guilt or hatred.
Acceptance makes it possible to consciously approach any disappointment, as an opportunity to learn and understand. The secret to living an emotionally fulfilling life, or healing from unfulfilled expectations, in many ways, lies in how you respond to what most disappoints you. Your beliefs, choices and action are key determinants of how you respond.
The sooner you chose to accept a reality, and feel the gratitude for your life, the better. The best part is that you do this on your own. It starts with small changes inside. You can choose to consciously practice acceptance, to appreciate your mind and body, your breath, all that you are, and have been and will be—just because.
Acceptance on the mat: Your yoga practice can bring up feelings awkwardness, weakness, not being as good in some way as the person on the next mat, and not as far along in our practice as we would like to be. But the true practice of yoga is to witness these thoughts and emotions and let them pass by, rather than being invested in them; to observe who you really are without judgement or expectation.
Most of us have hundreds of negative thoughts about ourselves each and every day. We don’t like what we see in the mirror and call ourselves names like idiot without even noticing how we are abusing ourselves. Yoga is letting go of self-criticism, accepting and embracing every aspect of your true self; not just tolerating but true acceptance. Some people get hung up on the physical practice, but the poses are tools to free tension from the body so that the mind can follow.
We don’t expect a tree to be anything other than a tree. Why do we expect to be something other than who we are?
The journey is not quick or straightforward. It’s practicing over and over again; watching your breath and your thoughts. Breath by breath letting go of who you think you should be, who you think others think you should be, learning to love and accepting who you are without judgement and expectation on the mat and in your life. So this month, let us practice acceptance.