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Learning from your past; processing what happened; altering or changing what is in your control.

In therapy, acceptance is a word often referenced, yet, never fully illustrated. Acceptance of a problem; acceptance of one’s addiction; acceptance of an end. In grief counseling, acceptance is the final stage of the grief process (preceding stages are denial, anger, bargaining, and depression). In addictions therapy, acceptance is the first step toward change… “I must accept I have an addiction, before I can begin to address and work toward changing my addictive patterns.”

Acceptance is downright difficult, painful, yet enlightening, enriching, and completely life altering.

How often have you told yourself, I accept my past; I accept the things that have occurred in my life; I accept my mistakes and failures? But, have you really? Do you still dwell? Do you still ask yourself, why? Do you still, emotionally, beat yourself up?

It is relatively easy to accept my accomplishments. However, not so easy to accept my failures. It is challenging to accept the “not so perfect things” I have done or continue to do.

It is easy to allow failure, mistakes, or stagnance to become a burden in our life, our mind, and in our heart. It is easy to allow these disappointments to destroy us emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. They can eat away at us, from the inside out. They can end up defining us.

“Due to my failed marriage, I am worthless and not worthy of love.”

“Due to being laid off of my job, I failed my family. I am undeserving of their love and forgiveness.”

“I have not worked out in five years. I have gained so much weight. I am ugly. There is no point in trying now. My body is ruined, forever.”

These are real events in people’s lives, which contribute to these real thoughts. These events cannot be erased; however, these misfortunes DO NOT NEED TO DEFINE WHO YOU ARE!

Don’t be “okay” or “good” with your failures, mistakes, stagnance; rather, ACCEPT them!! For example, you have not taken care of your physical health, since having a baby (who is eight years old, now)…well, it happened. Life happened, like it tends to do. Accept it!

Some people might think, accepting it will not change it… Not true!

Saying it is “ok,” is not going to change it! However, accepting it will!

Wait, what!? What does this mean? Isn’t that the same thing!?…

Nope, its not!...

Anyone confused, yet? Good! That means…I have your attention!

Acceptance is not saying it is “ok.” Acceptance is not continuing to give yourself permission to keep doing the same. Acceptance is not allowing yourself to stay stuck and sulk or feel pity for yourself. Acceptance is not being resentful or shameful.

True acceptance will change your stagnance because ACCEPTANCE IS ACTION!! Saying it is “ok” is NOT action; rather, it is justification… justifying your behaviors and choices and continuing to give yourself permission to keep doing the same things, thinking the same way, making the same choices (this is actually insanity- ok, maybe a topic for another post).

Acceptance is recognizing, processing, learning, and moving on. Acceptance is action because you are choosing to learn from your past failures, mistakes, or stagnance AND you are choosing to actually do things differently.

Acceptance is learning from your past; processing what happened; altering or changing what is in your control; following through with this change and keep following through with this change; continuing to alter what is not working; asking for support and help from heathy people; and keep moving forward. Remember… staying emotionally and mentally trapped in your past, contributes to depression!

Acceptance, personal growth, and working toward our potential is not about perfection. We are not perfect, we never will be. Guess what… we are all human and humans are flawed, imperfect creatures. And that is okay- heck, that is great! Our imperfections, our faults, our mistakes, our failures make us who we are, they make us unique! They provide us with the opportunity to grow, learn, and improve, which is the essence of acceptance!

Is this acceptance thing an easy task?- NOPE!

Is it possible?- Absolutely!

If you want to work toward self-actualization (a.k.a. achieving your potential), acceptance is essential!!!

What are the benefits of acceptance?

* Happier, more gratifying life

* Reduced depressive symptoms

* Forgiveness of self and others

* Ability to move forward in life with a more peaceful, serene mindset

* Improved self-confidence and self-esteem

* Sense of achievement as you work toward your potential

* Enriched clarity

* More productive life choices

* A more fruitful life with enhanced and balanced wellness

Sign me up, I will do the work!!

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