There’s probably some things in your life that you wish were different. You might feel angry about them, resentful, embarrassed, ashamed, or dissatisfied. You might also think it’s useful to feel these feelings because you think they’re what will push you into changing what you don’t like. But they won’t.
In this episode, I’m talking about why it’s not useful to hate on where you are and why acceptance of what is is so important. Acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t change. It can actually be an important step in the process of changing. Listen in to find out why and how you can be more accepting of all the circumstances in your life.
Hi! How’s it goin’? How are you doing? I’m great and I’m ready to talk to you about accepting where you are.
A lot of the time when things aren’t as we want them to be, we get very upset about it.
Sometimes our circumstances are not ideal or are very far from ideal.
It’s not enjoyable to not have things be how you want them to be.
But this is how life is. You can’t always get what you want, right?
I’m a big believer that there is so much that we want that we can get. So much more than we think.
We are capable of achieving our dreams and reaching big goals.
But right now, in this moment, you might not be where you want to be.
And although you can’t have what you want right now in this moment, this doesn’t mean you can’t ever have it.
Let’s not forget that. Don’t sell yourself short.
But also, it’s important to accept the place you’re in right now even if it’s not where you want to be.
Let’s look at why acceptance is so important.
To really understand why, we gotta look at what happens when you don’t accept where you are.
Let’s take acceptance of your body as an example since I know a lot of you struggle with thoughts about your body and the way you see your body.
When you’re not accepting of it, you’re rejecting it, you’re hating on it, you’re feeling ashamed of it and embarrassed by it.
These kinds of feelings are not going to drive you to be confident in your body and to show up as your amazing self. They’re going to do the opposite. You’re going to hide your body and hide yourself. You’re going to feel bad about yourself. You also might eat because why not? Your body sucks so why bother being good to it?
Here you are, not liking your body, thinking meanly about your body, and none of this is helping you to make it an better.
I get that you may want to change your body and make it smaller, but rejecting it, hating on it, and feeling bad about it isn’t going to drive you to do that.
Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you’re not accepting of where you are in your career.
You’re unhappy about the money you’re making, about the amount of hours you work, about your position in the company, or the speed at which your own business is growing.
What does that unhappiness lead you to do? Are you super productive when you’re unhappy? Do you speak up and ask for more when you’re unhappy? Unlikely. You probably just complain, wallow, and maybe even skip out on working and eat and waste time instead.
Just like with the body example, you may want more out of your career, you may want to see changes, but being unhappy about it isn’t going to drive you to do something about it.
Maybe you’ve seen this in yourself, maybe you’ve seen it in other people and haven’t been able to understand why they don’t do anything about their unhappiness, their embarrassment, their discontentment.
Now, there’s for sure the belief aspect of this. Maybe they don’t believe they can do something to change their circumstances. That’s for sure going to hold them back from taking action.
But there’s also their reaction to how they feel.
There’s this misconception that this hatred, this shame, this dissatisfaction is what drives change.
But think about the examples I gave. They don’t. Those feelings stop you from taking action. They stop you from doing what you want to do and from being who you want to be.
You’re not going to make any positive changes until you change how you feel.
Your feelings stop you and your feelings fuel you.
Now, you may be concerned about changing how you feel about your circumstances. This is something I hear a lot from people when I talk to them about accepting where they are.
They’re afraid that if they accept where they are then they won’t change. They think accepting is condoning, resigning, and giving up but it doesn’t have to be that at all. There’s a difference.
True acceptance is being at peace. It’s agreeing with reality. It’s being okay with where you are and what’s happening around you.
What it is, is a stepping stone toward change.
When you’re at peace with where you are, you’re not going to sabotage yourself or play small.
It’s a rather neutral feeling and therefore is going to lead to neutral action. It’s not going to causes big changes, or maybe any changes at all, but what it will do is put you in a position where you can start planning and think about your next steps.
All that negativity I was talking about before does not put you in a clean headspace. Acceptance does.
It’s from a place of acceptance and peace where you can then move into feeling encouraged, determined, committed, and even empowered.
Think about it this way. Say you’re invited to a party or an event and it’s pretty far away, whatever that means to you and it’s something you’d really like to attend.
You can get upset that it’s so far. You can complain about how you don’t understand why they chose to do it there and how it’s inconvenient for you. But what’s that going to do for you? It’s not going to change the venue location, it might cause you to be a Debbie Downer while you’re there if you go, and if you get angry enough you might just give up on the whole thing, not go, and miss out on something that would probably be a really good time. You might sabotage your own plans because you’re feeling so negatively about it.
Or, you can accept the distance. You can accept that you might have to drink less so you can drive home safely or that you’ll have to leave earlier than you’d like so you can get home at a certain time or whatever it is that you’ll sacrifice in order to go. You can be at peace with all of this and that’s going to make for a much better experience for you leading up to it and on your drive there. This may not be your ideal situation, but this is what it is. Here you are. Let’s agree that this is the reality of how it is right now.
From there, you can encourage yourself to go and not have a miserable drive there and have fun when you’re there and enjoy it all.
It’s “This is how it is and let’s go make it happen.”
That’s what acceptance allows you to do.
You know you’re not accepting of something if you feel some kind of anger, frustration, shame, embarrassment, or hate when you think about it.
You also know if you’re feeling desperate to change something really quickly. That can end up being disastrous because desperate feelings lead to desperate actions and think about how you act when you’re feeling desperate. Those are the times when you over exercise, over restrict, and act in unattractive ways, all of which will probably not help you get what you’re desperate for.
And you also know you’re not accepting when you’re wishing it was different or thinking it should be different.
When you “wish” or “should” you’re arguing with reality.
You’re not agreeing with what is and with the facts of you, your life, and the world around you.
This isn’t useful because the facts are facts and wishing and shoulding aren’t going to change what is.
Your body, your eating, your life, your job, your partner, your health, how you feel, that fact that you feel urges to binge, all of these are what they are right now in this moment.
You can’t change them right now in this moment.
But you can change all of them if you stop being so negative about them, move through neutral by accepting your starting point, which is where you are now, and then bring yourself into change mode.
Acceptance is not condoning or resigning, it’s allowing things to be as they are. When you can accept yourself, the people around you, and the circumstances of your life, then you can create peace and let go of a lot of your suffering.
Agreeing with reality is better than arguing with it.
I love Byron Katie’s quote about this – “When I argue with reality I lose, but only 100% of the time.”
So good and so true.
Acceptance opens you up to changing in a productive, sustainable way.
It’s “here we are, now what do we want to do?” Instead of this sucks, I hate this, feeling terrible and doing nothing because feeling terrible doesn’t drive you to take positive actions.
There are things you can do to change in this very moment and there are things you can’t like you can’t change your body right now in this moment, it will change over time, but you can change how you’re thinking in this moment to get yourself on the path to create better results in your life.
There are things you can’t change immediately but you can change you. You can change your thoughts about these things and then you will change how you feel, and that’s what will determine the actions you take.
Accepting your circumstances doesn’t mean you can’t change, it means you stop getting pissed off about where you are.
Be at peace, clear your head of the negativity, and then you can go make some serious changes if you want to.
I’ll talk to you next time. Bye bye.