The Positive Power of Acceptance

Arranging a walk with a group of friends is something I do frequently. And when the appointed day arrives, the weather is, of course, a consideration - especially if rain is forecast. But one of the uplifting characteristics of our little band is our refusal to let such a thing as ‘weather’ get in the way of our enjoyment. We consciously avoid loaded narratives, such as “The day would be better if it wasn’t raining” or “It always rains when I have a walk/picnic/day off”, because they encourage the idea that the pleasure of interacting with friends is dependent on the weather, which is not only untrue but also unrealistic when you live on an island on the edge of the Atlantic. And so, if it rains, we accept the fact and refuse to be victims of circumstance. It rains ‘yep’, wear a raincoat!

What we are doing here is the opposite of a negative act of denial – a positive act of acceptance, taking reality as it is and not attempting to change or resist it, because the act of acceptance can transform our state of mind. Life presents us with situations we would rather not be in – traffic jams and relationship breakdowns, to name but two – and we can decide to resist them and get bogged down in feelings of negativity or accept them, recognise our emotions and move on.

At the same time, it is important to recognise that acceptance does not imply approval, nor does it mean that you agree with what is happening, especially in the sense that you feel you ‘deserve’ it. Acceptance, in the sense I propose, is recognition of situations for what they are and avoidance of a futile struggle against reality.

I have listed below a few easy-to-remember statements that can help us to accept a tricky situation and attempt to move on:   

  • Even though I might not like what happened, the present moment is exactly what it is
  • I can get through difficult emotions even if it is hard
  • I will get through this no matter what
  • What I’m going through right now is hard, but it is temporary
  • When I try to fight against reality then I don’t see the options in my situation
  • I can only control the present moment

I also find it helpful to use the calm app most days. It helps me through mindfulness practice to slow down my whirling thoughts and look objectively at difficult situations.

Here’s to happy walks in the rain and to working on keeping an open mind and accepting.