Understanding the true meaning of acceptance has a lot to do with your ability to find happiness. Resolutions, intentions and goals can serve as guides to an amazing life. But what happens when we don’t meet and achieve them? Maybe this year wasn’t the year you found love or got the promotion you deserve at work. It’s easy to get down about falling short of our own expectations. In the end, though, it’s less about the idea of blind acceptance, and more about self love, appreciation and the ability to move forward.
How to practice acceptance
With everything that life throws our way, there’s no time to waste on improving our self acceptance practice. Ahead of New Year’s when everyone is coming up with new resolutions, why not use this year as an opportunity to learn acceptance.
Try to avoid thinking of situations as good or bad and simply see them for what they are. There are things outside of our control that often create an outcome that directly affects us. If you weren’t able to save enough to take a year-end trip, don’t automatically think it’s because you’re irresponsible or careless. It’s normal to feel completely responsible in these cases and to harshly criticize ourselves for it. But this is rarely the case, and negativity is not the ideal path toward advancement. Sometimes we just need to do a little adapting.
To be clear, accepting yourself doesn’t imply weakness or mean giving up and staying in the same place. Practicing acceptance means respecting the process and your current place, and also acknowledging that everything is or can be temporary. Thinking of a situation in terms of the way it makes you feel helps to visualize an experience as such. For example, instead of thinking you’re a failure for not getting the promotion you thought you had in the bag, understand that this is just a feeling of disappointment that you are experiencing at the moment, and use it to revise your plan for the future.
Start with self
Nobody gets very far by being hard on themselves, especially when the criticism is unwarranted. A positive mind pushes you forward, and when you acknowledge that you’re capable of doing better, any shortcoming begins to matter less. Realize also that there are things you can let go of, things that don’t serve you or your current situation. Approach setbacks in a positive way and embrace how they make you feel. You’ll notice the feelings start to change as your understanding of the situation evolves. You might even learn a thing or two and prepare yourself better for the next time.
Find the good
Some situations seem to be missing the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve all been there. Even though it may seem impossible, there is always something to be happy about. It will take some time and effort, but developing the skill to seek out the positive is well within everyone’s ability. The best tool to help you fully accept yourself is the ability to always find a way to be happy and move forward.