Updated June 08, 2015.
Everyone who has faced disappointment or loss knows that it's not always easy to accept what life brings. From early childhood we are presented with situations in life that seem unfair or that don't make sense to us, from an unequal distribution of toys (or wealth) to all manner of bad things happening to good people. When we find ourselves faced (again) with the reality of life's apparent unfairness, it's often difficult to let go and accept things as they are.
We may find ourselves embroiled in chronic rumination or anger at the circumstances we face, we may find ourselves resenting others who we feel have wronged us or have unfairly gotten what we feel we rightfully deserve, or we may feel that moving on from a situation is tantamount to giving up. We may want to accept things and move on, but feel unable to. Let's face it: acceptance can be challenging.
The difficult part of non-acceptance--of others, of those aspects of ourselves that we don't like, or of situations we face in life that seem greatly unfair--is that we stay stuck, and we stay stressed. (For a refresher on the detriments of staying stressed, read more about the risks of chronic stress.) Paradoxically, learning to accept and even embrace those things in life that are unacceptable is often the most important step in releasing ourselves from their negative grip.
If you are one of the many people who wants to learn to more easily practice acceptance in life, but are having a difficult time of it, you are not alone.
While accepting those infuriating things in life is often easier said than done, it is much easier done when you know where to start, and you have a plan. Each of these tools can help you to more easily practice acceptance. Used together, it becomes easier still. Free yourself with the following techniques.
GratitudeSometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the reality of what we've lost, what we feel we should have in life, or what feels unfair. One of the most effective ways to free ourselves of this and accept where we are in life is to actively focus on everything we have to appreciate, to cultivate gratitude. We now know that gratitude is a key component to happiness and inner peace, so this is an important tool for acceptance and for overall life satisfaction.
Learn more about gratitude.
MeditationMeditation gets us into the practice of observing without judgement, of seeing without reacting. These skills are key components of acceptance, and practicing them through meditation can make it easier to accept in other areas of life. Meditation can also help us to be less reactive to stressors we face in the future, so there are many benefits to this simple, effective technique.
Learn more about meditation.
ReframingOften when we look at things from a different perspective, we can feel differently about them, and this shift in feeling can make acceptance come much easier. Reframing--or the act of viewing things differently--can help us to see the positive in what looks like a negative, and can help us to see the hidden benefits of a difficult situation. Reframing doesn't change the situation, per se, but it can help us to see the situation differently, which can be transformative. (Sometimes we even see hidden choices we didn't realize we had, so we have greater access to acceptance as well as new actions we can take.)
Learn more about reframing.
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