Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
If you’re reading this, it means you’ve reached a point in your life, where you really want to make a change, because you just can’t go on the way you were. A moment where you acknowledge that your life needs to take a turn NOW.
The Practice of Acceptance
If you want to build a solid structure that will not collapse on the first breeze, here it is: you start with Acceptance.
You need to practice acceptance toward yourself with everything you’ve done or didn’t do because whatever it is, it will not determine your future. Repeat after me: your past does not determine your future.
It will not be easy. It will not take a single day or a single week. But you can do it. Don’t feel overwhelmed, because you are not alone in this journey. Once you start changing, like-minded people will come closer and toxic people will take distance.
Acceptance: The First Step In Turning Your Life Around
Accepting everything at once – the whole and past YOU, is a lot. So you need to approach it the same way you would (metaphorically) eat an elephant: piece by piece!
Let’s start with the practice of acceptance.
Take your timeline and split it into chunks, by ages or any other metric that makes sense to you. Ex: childhood, teenage years, your 20’s, 30’s etc. The chunks don’t need to be equal size.
Next, take each one of those chunks (can be even in a random order) and see how you feel about it. Think about the major events and try to remember how you were feeling.
Do you accept everything that has happened in that specific period of time? If so, that’s great, pick another chunk.
If not, just think about it. Start with what you can remember. A feeling, a smell, a sound, a full memory perhaps until you can build a whole picture. If it’s pitch black, just darkness and can’t remember anything, don’t be discouraged.
Your memories are not lost, your brain is not damaged. It’s called dissociative amnesia and it means your brain has temporarily hidden the paths to those memories because they hurt too much.
I repeat: they are not lost, they will come back when it’s safe to go there. I guarantee you. This will also be one of the most important hints your brain will give you in terms of healing.
Once forgotten memories – typically bad ones – start surfacing back, it means your brain is finding them safe enough to be accessed again and it’s asking for your help to face them and heal them.
Ask yourself what you can’t accept and understand why.
Take all the time you need to do that. I would recommend the morning after a good sleep. Enjoy the silence and the morning breeze and have your inner dialogue. Be kind when you analyze yourself. Be kind to past versions of yourself that did NOT have the knowledge you possess NOW.
Maybe at a certain point in life, you were selfish, or a cheater, or an alcoholic or had sex with random strangers. Whatever you did, your value as person has not been diminished. Raise your chin, everybody makes mistakes.
Acceptance: You Are Enough
You are still worthy of love and appreciation. Your mission in this exercise is to understand WHY you did it. It can be something you’ve done or something you didn’t. You had your reasons at that point and even if they were wrong, for the “past You” they were justified.
Don’t judge yourself. We’re talking about unconditional acceptance. Accept who You are and who You were, not what others want you to be.
It sounds hard to believe, but the child you were in your first years of life and even further, that child knows your innate joys, because nobody had the time to corrupt them.
If as a child:
- you were enjoying the mornings, and now you’re a night owl;
- you were enjoying vanilla ice cream and now you hate it;
- you were laughing a lot and being genuinely happy and now you are sarcastic;
- you enjoyed writing and you stopped because you once wrote to someone who wasn’t worth it;
If any or something similar to the above describes you, ask yourself what happened and go back to being the true YOU. Go back to the roots: who you were as a child – and start from there.
Practice acceptance toward your past
Try whichever you want, but the real change will only come from within.
The hardest part is to accept you can’t change the past, but you can learn from it so that you never go there again. The second hardest part is to give up on magical thinking: waiting for God, angels, spirits, extreme forces, to change your life.
Personally, I’ve tried religion, astrology, special places, numerology and many others. None of them did the work for me. However I believe at a high level in karma.
I believe that by doing good in this world, good things will come back to you I believe that if you can do good, you should do it. And I believe that by doing bad to other living beings, you will attract bad things in your life. Feel free to disagree, it’s just my belief, but I can work with it because it relies solely on my actions.
You will feel tempted to run away from this self-introspection because it’s not easy. Trust me, you can do it and once you get there and accept yourself, that peace of mind will be bliss and it will open up the path to Awareness and Action.
Take the first step now, then another one and another one until you will not be able to see where you started. One day you will look back and be amazed at the journey you took.