I generally try to avoid using the word “acceptance” in my everyday clinical work. I found that people can become resistant when I say “accept it”, normally when I follow it with “allow it to be, let it be, without struggling”, they immediately get it, or at least become more “accepting” to the idea of acceptance.
Acceptance is not wanting or liking. You accept how things are going for you, doesn’t mean you like or want things that way. I accept that my cat has to be put down due to lymphoma, doesn’t mean I like or want him to be put down. I accept the sadness that comes with the loss, doesn’t mean I like or want to be sad.
Acceptance is also not tolerating. They are very different, do you want people to accept you, or tolerate you?
Acceptance is more about allowing things to be that way, accommodating it without struggling (so much) with it. Normally it applies to things that you can’t change directly (external events which you have no control on, e.g. your cat has lymphoma; but also includes your internal thoughts and emotions, which you can’t simply chuck away like a piece of paper, e.g. sadness, fear, anxiety, thought of “I’m not good enough”).
Here are some short Dropping Anchor recordings, suitable to be used when you’re feeling intense emotions and wanting to ground yourself to the here and now, and make the most of the situation you are in. (Ideally you’d have done more extensive version of it with me in sessions. )
Notice and acknowledge your painful thoughts. What is your mind telling you? (“I notice that my mind is having the thought of I’m not good enough, I’m a failure”)
Notice and acknowledge your feelings and emotions. What are you feeling in your body? (heavy chest? tensed shoulders? headache? numbness? etc)
Come back into your body, straighten your back, put your finger tips together, have a stretch, take a couple of breaths.
Using your senses, connect with the external environment. What can you see? What can you hear? What can you touch/taste/smell?
Action: Now that you’re grounded in this situation, what are you going to do to make the full of this situation?
Please note that it’s not necessary to follow these steps, when I do it I tend to move around. Sometimes you can quickly do this, or even repeat a few times within 30 seconds or so.
It’s important to notice that the pain hasn’t gone away, but despite what the mind is saying and how you’re feeling, you can still notice so many things else going on and take effective actions moving towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life.