I believe the word I have been the most frustrated with during my time in therapy is «acceptance».
How incredibly impossible it felt – to accept whatever, impossible, bad situation, painful feeling, difficult struggle, lack of motivation, lack of self-belief. How do one even begin accepting something? What IS it really? How do you embrace acceptance, how do you put it into practice? How do you work with it? Do you have to feel something? Does it start as a mental concept? Is that enough? To say «I accept that I feel depressed», or «I accept that I am scared of my emotions»? It does sound easy enough. I think that IS how you go about it, really – if you wanna try. Say it until you start believing it.
But it wasn´t easy. It was a drag. Firstly, I didn´t recognize a lot of the things/ feelings/ qualities I should be embracing. I couldn´t complete the sentence «I accept that…». I didn´t understand it and I certainly didn´t FEEL it. So I just ignored the whole concept and got really irritated and defensive and dismissive whenever it came up. I wanted change (like some other famous people), but I didn´t want to accept the situation, or admit that «it is what it is».
That lasted a while.
Until «suddenly» – I can´t pin point ONE thing that caused the change of heart. As with a lot of big changes, I believe there were many things, people, circumstances (and time) that contributed to it. But «suddenly» after a long while – I sorta grasped WHY it is a good idea to accept something.
It was one of those epiphanies you get every now and then, when you see and FEEL a connection. Some situation had me thinking «I can´t change this, I can only accept that it is what it is. EUREKA – I got it!». It did NOT look so tidy in the midst of things.
I did, however, feel enormous relief and freedom and power (?) having realized that I could choose how I wanted to deal with a situation. Up until then a lot of stuff seemed come to me in a wrapping I could not affect. I felt powerless, a victim. I HATED being called a victim by my therapist. Defensive, not accepting.
I was a victim. I didn´t accept myself, didn´t want to realize that I – like EVERYBODY else – has both charming, wonderful, «good» qualities AND not so charming, less wonderful, less flattering qualities (to take an example). I didn´t want to see that there were better, more positive ways of responding in certain situations. I guess I didn´t want to realize that I wasn´t my own best advisor.
This whole realization made me less of a victim, and more of an active participant in my life. I learned that accepting something can give me choices, make me see other solutions to a familiar sticky situation.
I´m not done, though, implementing this accepting business in my life. It´s a work in progress. Every now and then I catch myself falling back into the victim role – «I can´t change this» «It´s you/ him/ her/ them/ that» «I´m stuck in this» «This feels hopeless» etc. And sometimes I even go to my low point «I´ve done so much now, they/ he/ she should realize/ do/ change …»
When I feel sorry for myself I wrap myself up in self pity and blame the world, for a while. Then I start working my way back to acceptance, perhaps with a bitter sigh. This is beginning to get easier to do. Sometimes. Depending on the situation.
But I am bold enough to state that I have grasped the gist of acceptance. And even if I´m not nailing acceptance on a daily/ hourly basis, I fully embrace why it is a good idea.
The whole reason for this rambling is that earlier today, while pondering on my next blog post I started getting that familiar sensation of self-cencorship. You know – «nothing I have to say is any interesting», «nothing is good enough» or «how will «they» think of me if I say this or that»?
So, here´s acceptance in practice – I accept that I am insecure, I am not sure if anybody will EVER read what I write, I am not sure if it makes sense, or if it is any interesting. And parts of me really want for somebody to read my blog. I guess that last part goes without saying. Blog. Worldwide web. – Although I realize that I am really writing for me.
So, here´s my first virtual step towards embracing who I am.
and a photo of some tp roll owls