Acceptance is the most important thing in my life, so I couldn’t think of anything else to start this blog proper. I warn you now, I’ll be asking many questions throughout my blog as the important thing is not for you to know what I think and feel but to become aware of these things in your life – what do they mean to you, when you do agree with me and why, when do you not? Does what I write make you happy or upset or angry…. and why? Why why why, never stop questioning your life and asking why!

What does Acceptance mean to you?
What does it mean to you to accept someone or something?
What does someone else have to do/say for you to feel accepted by them?
It’s one of these things that seems so simple yet is almost impossible to practise, or to practise often/constantly.
I know I fail on a daily basis to accept things about me, my life and the people around me. Yet when I bring my attention to accepting, it makes life easier and better.

The Child in me often cannot accept, the Adult learns to.

Think about a friend of yours in fear or pain, can you accept that?

Can you only accept things that are pleasant and positive and wanted?

What does it mean to accept something you don’t want or like?

I’ve had to accept awful things from my clients in (my limited experience of) counselling sessions. Pain, trauma, abuse, loneliness – oh my goodness, such overwhelming loneliness. I failed and succeeded in turns with all this depending on what buttons of mine were being pushed.
What these clients needed from me (amongst other things) was acceptance.
Not platitudes, not verbal band aids – what the hell can I do to heal the wounds from a childhood of abuse, there isn’t a clever phrase for that! But to accept them as they are, wounds, scars, tears, anger, guilt, shame, strength, darkness and light, the shit and the wonder and to say all of that is acceptable just as it is.
Yes we want to change things, make life and ourselves and our situation better, but still you are acceptable just as you are right now. Wanting to change things doesn’t stop you being acceptable as you are.

Our society and culture often has us saying variations on “there there don’t cry, think positive” when we are with someone in pain. Well meaning but think about it, what is the subtext to what you are saying?- don’t feel what you are feeling, we say in well meaning kindness, don’t show it to me or don’t show it for long. The subtext whispers, what you are feeling is not acceptable.

Someone crying will almost always (me included, although I try and kid myself I know better) apologise for it. Why? But we do.

The biggest example of this for me was a lady who came in for a shiatsu treatment just a week after her husband had passed away from cancer. Not unsurprisingly, the simple kindness of getting her a seat and a cup of tea and a warm hand on her shoulder made her cry, and she couldn’t stop saying sorry. It broke my heart – if anyone had a reason to cry and not feel sorry for it!

I think a lot of this is Britishness, self-deprecation, the thought that if we show we’re not doing this on purpose, for attention, we will be more acceptable. It’s so deeply ingrained into our psyches that it’s almost impossible to step outside of the social conventions.

The deepest friendships I have are with those who have been able to accept me (and themselves) just as they are. People who make me feel normal no matter how I’m reacting. Who through their acceptance make me feel an acceptable human being NO MATTER WHAT!

My counsellor gave me that gift – whether I spent the hour talking about making bath bombs (which I did once), or went in saying “this gigantic issue I’ve been avoiding for weeks, lets talk about it” or the next week pretending that big issue had never been noticed – all was accepted as the same, as fine.

So now I find myself wondering about this post. It doesn’t come close to what I want to say about Acceptance, how important and fundamental it is to me. So much is missed out and I know once I post it I’ll kick myself for what I left out. But I accept it. In all it’s flaws and omissions and all the ways it doesn’t say exactly what I want it to. That’s all fine and accepted.

What do you accept today?


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