What does this mean? When life pleases us and flows in accordance with our needs and desires, we don’t think about acceptance. But when our will is frustrated or we’re hurt in some way, our displeasure causes us to react, ranging from anger to withdrawal.
We might deny or distort what’s happening to lessen our pain. We might blame others or ourselves or we try to change things to our liking and needs.
Most of us alter our reality to some degree by perceiving reality with our personal biases. We sometimes use denial unconsciously to make reality more palatable. A few such examples are:
Why do we do this? The reason is that it helps us cope with some uncomfortable feeling or fact. Although denial may be an easier way to cope with stress, suppression is far better. For example, a cancer patient may decide not to think about dying in order to muster up the courage to undergo difficult treatment. This does not mean to bottle up the feelings and never talk about them, as that will have negative psychological effects in the long run, rather do not dwell on the feelings to long, and find a time and place to talk it out. That may be with a close friend, a therapist, a school counselor, etc.
Denial is a core symptom of codependency and addiction. We have a distorted relationship to reality often acting against our best interests. Addicts and codependents use denial to continue addictive behavior.
Paradoxically change can only begin with acceptance of the reality, including those that are painful.
Many of us when we here the word acceptance, we think of submission, but acceptance can also be an expression of will, a conscious decision that some things we can not change. New options present themselves as we shift our focus from changing the impossible to changing what we can.
I wrote that acceptance can be an act of will. It may take the form of a positive a change of attitude. Sometimes, that’s all we can do. There may be nothing on the outside that we can change, but acceptance of a situation brings peace of mind and allows us to enjoy the moment.
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