Woman Reading in Bed

ACCEPTANCE WORK

ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY

Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), acceptance is an opportunity to be 100% honest with yourself. This is the first step towards a healthy relationship with yourself, built on self-awareness and self-trust.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

Image by Ayo Ogunseinde

Many of us were trained to put on rose-colored glasses and try to force happiness. There is a time and place to put on a happy face, like at work or around certain people. However, trying to ALWAYS feel joy is disingenuous and unhealthy.

Why can't we just force ourselves to feel happiness and joy? It's not realistic. Plus, the emotion "joy" stems from being in a state of CALM, PRESENCE, CURIOUSITY, ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE or a similar state of being. It is how our nervous system works. There are many, many ways to cultivate moments of joy in life - like exploring nature, intentional gratitude, time with loved-ones, a tasty meal, giving gifts - but in order to have access to joy, to truly feel it, we need fertile ground of calm and presence, which acceptance practices can provide.

“JOY COMES TO US IN ORDINARY MOMENTS. WE RISK MISSING OUT WHEN WE GET TOO BUSY CHASING DOWN THE EXTRAORDINARY.” 

Brene Brown, PhD

POWERING THROUGH

The ability to power through stressful and traumatic events is incredible and badass. In fact, you're reading this right now because you succeeded - you survived. Take a moment and honor yourself. Your unique strengths and abilities to adapt are clearly amazing. You're also stronger and wiser.

Can you imagine taking time to relax and fully "accept" reality in the middle of combat? Not a good survival strategy. To power through life's major stressors and traumas, we 'fight-flight-freeze-or-fawn' to survive - these states rev the nervous system, produce stress chemicals, and activate physiological responses to "disconnect" you from everything except for focusing on the threat (whether it be combat, an emergency or more of a long-term threat, like an abusive relationship or financial hardship).

Mud Crawl

"I AM BIGGER THAN ANYTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ME."

Charles Lummis

Stressed Woman

STUCK POWERING THROUGH

The issue is our nervous system can get 'stuck' in 'fight-flight-freeze-or-fawn' unable to realize the 'battle,' stressor or trauma is over - or at least not an immediate threat to survival. This prolonged "disconnection" from feeling safe, calm, and real, present-moment emotions, continues to activate your stress-response system, for days, weeks, even years. This toxic stress has a major impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. 

 

DISCONNECTION

Lie detector tests detect dishonesty by measuring the body's stress-response and it's automatic physiological effects. Imagine how prolonged "dishonesty" and "disconnection" from your own reality stresses your mind and body. Trying to force yourself to 'power through,' or be perfect and happy all the time without realizing how you're truly feeling, needing and wanting, is a form of "dishonesty."

"What you resist, persists. What you accept, transforms."

Shamash Alidina

You cannot hide reality from yourself, no matter how hard you try. The more you try to neglect your real emotions or run away from acceptance, the more activated your nervous system and stress-response, much like how being triggered or how dishonesty would show up on a lie detector test.  

 

gifts of acceptance

'Sitting in the mud' of acceptance offers many gifts such as: the ability to face 'inner demons' and regrets; build self-trust; heal by holding our suffering and grieving; shed layers of pain, heartbreak and disappointments; breakthrough 'stuck-ness' and depression; forgive; let go; gain awareness and learn powerful lessons for the future.

Image by Daiga Ellaby

“Without suffering, there's no happiness. So we shouldn't discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering... with a lot of tenderness.” 

Thich Nhat Hahn

 

stress-response system

LEARN ABOUT YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM

You will learn more about your nervous system on the Stress-Response Types page. For now, it's important to see how Acceptance Work allows you to access PRESENCE and GROUNDEDNESS by 'sitting in the mud' with reality. This is an essential step before learning skills for processing and healing, such as Mindful Self-Compassion practices and Emotional Health Skills. Acceptance Work involves understanding your genuine needs and priorities, facing reality, and seeing disappointments, fear, regrets and 'inner demons' - see Video Analogy below.

video analogy

“ACCEPT - THEN ACT. WHATEVER THE PRESENT MOMENT CONTAINS, ACCEPT IT AS IF YOU HAD CHOSEN IT. ALWAYS WORK WITH IT NOT AGAINST IT. THIS WILL MIRACULOUSLY TRANSFORM YOUR WHOLE LIFE.” 

Eckhart Tolle

 

WORKSHEET

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acceptance

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ACCEPTANCE meditation

“CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING A REAL EMOTION TAKES THE BRAIN OUT OF FLIGHT-OR-FLIGHT MODE AND INTO PROBLEM-SOLVING MODE, OUT OF TENSION, ANGER AND OCNFUSION AND INTO EASE, CALM AND CLARITY.” 

Sam Owen

ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY

EXPLAINED, TIMOTHY GORDON

ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY

FOUNDER, STEVE HAYES

 

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Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.  It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care.