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January 21, 2023

A Personal Account of Transformation: How Adopting an Active Acceptance Practice Changed My World

By Mel Gutierrez

We all have moments where we struggle with the temptation of control. How tempting a desire it is! But it’s fantasy with a hidden trap. If you think you’re going to influence the outcome of every single experience you have then you’re setting yourself up for terrible pain and disappointment. This is why it’s incredibly beneficial to welcome the energy of active acceptance into your life. 

When we overextend the use of our personal power, we waste our precious life force. For most humans, physical energy is the primary source of vitality. But emotional, mental, spiritual/energetic stress will absolutely corrupt and deplete your physical well-being if you’re not mindful.

Worse, there’s an addictive cycle that accompanies controlling behavior. You might be in a  situation that is progressing in a way that you find unsatisfying, even distressing. So you try to somehow manipulate it even when there is objective evidence that you can’t. Because you can’t accurately see or assess that evidence, you keep trying to exert control, and the more it falls apart the more you dig your heels in…

Get the idea? Not only is this cycle unproductive, but it can also be exhausting and destructive, when in fact it’s much easier to let go.

Maintaining an acceptance practice will help you be a more innovative creative problem solver. 

For instance, I used creative problem-solving in a recent financial crisis. Like many New Yorkers, my rent was dramatically raised last year by $1,100. I was devastated, terrified, and rageful, plus I love where I live! I didn’t want to go anywhere else, nor would finding a place and moving be inexpensive. My emotions were choking me and I knew I needed help seeing my way through this panic (whenever I can’t use my logical mind I immediately call for help). 

So after a very very intense session with my therapist, in which I voiced everything I hated about this situation, I felt cleansed. It took a lot! She was amazing at holding the space for me and helping me to remember what my goals are. After all the emotional upheaval my body was more relaxed and my poor exhausted mind got a pause. In this calmer state, I was able to come up with a plan and even prepare for what could possibly get in my way. 

It was a challenging moment, but I knew I was going to have to raise my prices even with existing clients. It was terrifying and necessary. But magic happened! With every conversation and negotiation, my business grew and continues to flourish. Most of my clients stayed and were so kind and understanding. They are a blessing and I could finally see it. It was great making space for new people and projects. When I stopped spinning with the desire to control the rent raise, I actively made myself accept it, and then that previously wasted energy gave me the strength to walk in my truth. With acceptance, I can embody knowing that I’m worthy of being paid what I deserve. 

Learn to ACCEPT! Accept people as they present themselves to be. Accept the reality of the terms and conditions that dictate our relationships, jobs, and experiences so that we can choose the ones we actually want. When we practice actively choosing to accept the ugly truth of something then we don’t waste precious resources on resisting the inevitable. We can use that energy to assess our circumstances with clarity and make constructive decisions. 

But this clarity and progress can’t be reached or maintained if we don’t choose on a day-to-day and sometimes a moment-to-moment basis to repeatedly shift our minds towards objective assessment. In other words, practice the ability to see someone or something for what it actually is versus what you would like it or them to be. 

Truth can be a bitter pill and a powerful medicine. When you choose to pay more attention to the rational assessment of your experience without your emotions coloring that assessment, life starts to become a little smoother. 

Imagine finding the freedom to express exactly what you want without compromise. That takes the ability to unflinchingly accept your truest desires. You must accept what you want before you start manifesting it. When we are in active acceptance, we have agency, not control, over our experience. When there is pushback on our ability to find acceptance in a situation, it can be an opportunity for clear feedback on what we are or are not willing to tolerate.

Each scenario exemplifies the transformation that comes with the practice of active acceptance. Each one also exemplifies the preservation of your power, so that you have the stamina to make bigger and harder decisions. Indeed, this is a practice for the maturing and brave. You get to decide what has to be done to get exactly what you want! Then you can decide if you’re willing to do what that takes. Not everything comes at a price that you’d be willing to pay. Be your own boss and make hard, but necessary executive decisions. 

Acceptance is a powerful tool! Therefore, I would like to clarify a nuance to be aware of when using it, because you will be using strong energies to break patterns, embody your truth and follow through on defending your boundaries. 

Acceptance does not necessarily mean tolerance.

Allow me to speak from my own experience. When I finally FINALLY accepted that some of my past partners were unable and unwilling to do the self-development work that I am so committed to, then I stopped wasting my time wishing it was otherwise. This simple, but very difficult and often intense act, liberated me from romantic relationships that were toxic and abusive. Moving forward I’m dedicated to direct/clear communication and accepting what people desire and are capable of. 

*Pay Extra Attention* This does not mean that the cognitive acceptance (ie, clear and rational assessment) I’m practicing means that I automatically acquiesce to that behavior in my life if I don’t want it. I don’t have to tolerate what another person is bringing to the table if I don’t want to. But to make that decision and act in my favor I do not pretend they are offering something else, nor do I allow myself to fantasize that it will change.

Well…at least not for long. There’s always a learning curve. You are allowed to feel out a situation for as long as necessary to acquire the appropriate data. Though any time beyond that is…something else. What I’m describing is hard and requires bravery. It is not passive acceptance. I desire for you to run toward hard truths like you’re running straight into a fire. This is the crucible of truth that will burn away what keeps you from fulfilling your dreams. 

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide if you find that you still struggle with acceptance in your life:

  • Recognize when you’re having an emotional reaction. This first step is critical. You will need to know the difference between emotion-fueled storytelling versus your critical awareness of what is ACTUALLY happening.

  • When you become aware of any emotional energy/momentum/overwhelm take a pause. Ideally, you’ll be somewhere in which you can literally stop what you are doing and start breathing deeply. Slow down to observe accurately.

  • Practice self-compassion, by suspending any judgment on your feeling state. Whatever you’re feeling is OK. It’s just information. It’s OK if you really want something to work out. It’s OK to be disappointed, hurt, jealous, excited…etc. This practice is not about denying or repressing your feelings. It is about accepting how you feel and soothing those emotions with healthy self-care practices.

  • Now you can investigate what is causing you to feel the way you do. This is when you will practice confronting the truth of any situation head-on. Remember to congratulate yourself for staring so unflinchingly at what is happening. Consider it a practice in remaining present. No reminiscing on the past or fantasizing about the future. 

Integrate this information, so you can move forward in a constructive way, one that brings you closer to your goals. Simple right? HA! This presentation is simple, but in practice, it’s not easy. Ask for help if you need it! Human beings struggle with and against acceptance every day! You are not alone and you deserve support. Talk to a therapist or coach. You can definitely talk to friends, but an objective party is really the most valuable for this kind of work. 

Most importantly, congratulate and celebrate yourself for even trying. Beginning and sustaining an acceptance practice is HARD! So be sure to reward yourself whenever you choose to be brave and honest with yourself. This will encourage you to do it repeatedly and will help you to realize that you can handle the tough stuff. You’re built for challenges. You are resilient and strong. 

You got this.

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