Acceptance is the first step in true healing. Foster the courage to look reality in the eye with humility, and the wisdom to discard that which no longer serves you. Clinging and longing are the source of all suffering. Nature is the ultimate teacher of acceptance and resilience with its constant dance of persistent renewal.
It is better to come to terms with the truth of your adversity or loss than to ignore, repress or deny it for the latter only intensifies and prolongs suffering. Acceptance is not about giving up, it’s about taking responsibility for your situation and taking a step forward to experience the full range of emotions. It is about trusting that the pain is temporary, that you will learn from the experience and that you will overcome your adversities. Only then can true and lasting healing begin.
Acceptance means letting go of people, feelings, things and events (e.g. former friends, exes, deceased, shame, anger, status, dreams, perfect occasions, etc.) that no longer add to your life – i.e. de-cluttering life. It is natural for people, feelings and things/events to come in and out of our lives; it is unnatural to cling to them when our lesson from them is done. In fact, clinging and longing is the root of most human suffering. Consider that “events” belong to the moment and not to you. Events, are gifts, they make life exciting and incredibly educational – do not resist – do not cling, long or attach, let the moment pass. Trust that your life will be full in new ways as you honor letting go. You are making space for others (e.g. events) to enter and enrich your life, and you will enjoy the freedom of being at peace with ‘what is’. You are being resilient as well as creating resilience.
When you can humbly accept that you are an integral part of nature’s unconditional and persistent renewal, transcending will be up-lifting. To know that irrespective of the adversities you face for the moment you are right where you belong – to learn great things. And contrary to popular belief, the most common outcome to adversity is not post-traumatic stress disorder but post-traumatic growth. (“What Doesn’t Kill Us – The New Psychology of Post Traumatic Growth” – findings are that traumatic events can act as catalysts for positive change.) This knowledge alone is calming and assuring.
The art of acceptance is beautifully captured by Hermann Hesse’s poem…. What trees teach us.
Be still, be quiet and listen. Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Let your thoughts grow silent and listen within. You are anxious because your path leads away from home. But every step and every day will lead you back again to home. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all. Trees are wiser than we are and when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity, quickness and childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. They want to be nothing except what they are. That is home. That is happiness.