Acceptance Is Half The Action

Acceptance Is Half The Action

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

We tend to think that acceptance of a negative situation leads to such negative results as indifference, inaction and surrender. When something bad happens to us, we don't ever want to accept it, lest we give up fighting against what we don't like.

A long-term illness or intractable pain enters your life uninvited and refuses to go away. The more you try to fight it and scream and yell at it, the more it seems to dig its heels in. The more you question it and resent it, the more it takes over your life.

Remember the serenity prayer. It makes sense to ask for courage to change the things you can, patience to accept what you can't and wisdom to know the difference.

We wrongly think acceptance is inaction. But the fact is that acceptance is a most positive action and it often opens doors to new opportunities and unlocks resources and inner strengths you might have buried under the "rubbish" of rage, frustration or self-pity.

Some people have a near-phobia about acceptance; on which conjures up an image of being helplessly crushed by the weight of whatever terrible condition has befallen them. The fact is that real progress can begin only after acceptance. Prior to acceptance, there might be at the best a disconcerted action of half attempts and misdirected energy.

Perhaps you are one of those who suffer from horrible chronic pain. Don't expect it to go away. Don't expect anyone else to take the pain away from you. Such expectations often lead to anger and frustration with yourself and others. As a result, you might find yourself unbearable to live with and others may avoid coming around you. Many families break up because the sick member of the family has alienated everyone around them.

Many times the illness or pain is in charge. Take the charge back from that condition. Reclaim yourself. Identify that one thing you can improve on. When you get up in the morning and you are hurting worse and feeling crummier than ever before, that's your starting point to begin your work that day.

Perhaps, you can't walk a block like you did yesterday. Today, you might just be able to walk up to your porch or the mailbox. It is better to focus the mind on walking a yard today than lamenting the mile you could walk yesterday

Perhaps, walking just a few steps today may make you proud of yourself and improve your mood. That might just encourage you to wear your thinking cap to solve the problems of that day. It doesn't help to think about yourself as you were yesterday or the day before. Think of solving the problems of today.

Get involved with something bigger than you. And, get involved in the lives of your friends and loved ones to take a break from your own self. To keep your support network alive, you have to take an active part in it. It might not appear that it has anything to do with the problem you face, but reaching out to others might just be the most important thing for treatment and rehabilitation.

When you accept your condition, things begin to fall in place. When you are not weighed down by the "Why?" questions, you can move on.

If you have pain, own it. Assume it's here to stay. Get motivated to do something about it yourself. You are too important to be delegated to someone else. Take responsibility for your health, food intake, exercise, medicine, rest and recuperation.

Some people stop liking themselves when they can't function the way they once did. Or worse, they feel God is punishing them and that everyone else is letting them down. Shedding those negative emotions can lift tons of weight off your shoulders.

Did you have toxic relationships in the past? Are there bad feelings and events of the past, you could never accept or set aside? Those might make it difficult for you to accept what's happening to you now. Worse, you might be dwelling on negative experiences of the past and the present. It is time to get rid of that baggage in order to deal with the challenges of the present. You might be able to cope better with your illness and or control your pain level like you never could before.

Some think they would start liking themselves once they can be more independent and capable than they are today. It is a catch-22 situation. Some things won't fall into place until you learn to like yourself once again. This is presuming that you once did genuinely like yourself. If not, you have to first learn to like yourself to make any headway with your existing problem.

If you are not willing to help yourself, there is very little the medical world can do for you. They likely won't tell you but I just did.

Sometimes, let laughter override the pain. At other times, let laughter penetrate the pain.

Your body is there to serve you and adapt to you in remarkable ways. But, sometimes you have to adapt to your body.

Return to Self Help 

Copyright 2003, Mind Publications 
Posted September 2003


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