I’d say this is one of the biggest learnings that I get to witness with my clients. It can be tempting to want things and people to be a certain way. We often have expectations and pretty pictures in our heads of events, achievements and relationships or encounters with others. Now sometimes things work out just like we pictured, but often times they don’t.
We then have choices. We can try to force them – the situations and/or the people involved – to adhere to our expectations. This can be painful and takes a lot of effort. I see people doing this often and it makes me tired just thinking about it. It’s hard to fight against what’s really happening. It means not only are we working hard to make things seem like what they’re not, we also end up feeling disappointment because we put in all that effort and it still doesn’t end up the way we wanted.
People often mistake accepting and allowing what is as complacency or being resigned to accepting what you don’t want. And that’s not the Acceptance we’re looking for. We’re looking for the energy of non-resistance – of accepting the differences and even the inadequacies and the imperfections. Because when we do, there is so much more ease. We can be with a situation or a person without trying to make it something it isn’t. And as we stay there, often we can even see a beauty we never knew was there.
In addition to doing this with others and with situations, a perfect place to explore this idea of Acceptance is within yourself. All of us have sides or parts of us that aren’t our favorites. Perhaps it’s a jealous side, or a perfectionist side or a judgmental side. Many times we want to resist these parts. We want to deny their existence or we want to push them away. We might feel shame when it comes to them.
Instead, what would it be like to accept this part of yourself? I’m not saying you have to love it (although you might end up getting there too), but in the beginning, it is enough to simply allow it to express itself. When that part of you expresses itself – in words or thoughts or actions – you can acknowledge it. Instead of trying to shut it down, you can bring in some curiosity and ask, “What do you want me to know?” or “What do you need from me?”
When we stop resisting, we can reach a much deeper level of peace. We have more understanding for ourselves and for those ‘dark’ sides and we know that with them, there’s beautiful gems to be discovered. The more we accept, the more of us is expressed.
As you move through the week, continue to be aware of when and where you are resisting or trying to control something. Notice what happens when you let go of the resistance and/or control and accept things for what they are. What happens in the situations or the other people involved and in you?