One simple yet powerful thing you can do to remove quite a bit of suffering from your life is to be accepting.
The funny thing about a problem is that the negative feelings you may feel because of it do to a large extent not come from the problem itself.
It comes from your resistance to the problem.
And, of course the problem already is – you can’t go back in time and change something – so resistance is a bit unnecessary.
Much of the pain in your life is needlessly created in your mind. You may fear something. And it might be a little dangerous. But often we add probably 80 percent or more to the problem with the help of our minds. We build these spectacular negative fantasies of what may happen if we do something. When we finally do what we feared those fears pretty much never materializes.
One way to decrease such negative feelings as fear and not build big and scary mind-monsters is to be accepting. When you accept what is, then your problem – the trigger of those monsters in your head – loses much of its power to take over your mind. It just is, like a tree or brushing your teeth or the keyboard under my fingers. It doesn’t have much of an emotional power over you.
More solutions and less ice-cream
The point of accepting isn’t to give up and just accept that what is now will always be. The point is to remove that negative emotional weight in your mind that you create by resisting.
The sooner you accept something, the sooner can you start to use more of your mind to focus on finding a solution. I have previously written about how you can become more productive if you focus 80% of your time and energy on finding a solution and only 20% on dwelling on the problem. A lot of people do the opposite. I believe that learning to become more accepting and to accept things quicker is a vital key to being able to work in this more effective way.
Another use of acceptance is if you have impulses and habits you don’t really like and that are not so beneficial. If you’ve had a bad day maybe you want a big bowl of ice-cream. Maybe you feel this way just about every time you’ve had a bad day.
Instead of resisting it and empowering it accept this need. It might not solve your problem the first time you try it, but I have found that it lets you see your behaviour pattern with more clarity. The pattern has less energy than if you had resisted it and it becomes easier to let go of that need for the ice-cream for the night. Over time these responses to a bad day will have less power over you. You’ll have more control of what you want to do, not what some automatic thoughts and emotions tells you to do.
To remove a habit like this one you may want to add a replacement. If you just stop doing something there might become a vacuum that your mind wants to fill. If you eat a lot of ice-cream you may want to fill your kitchen with fruit and vegetables as a replacement and as something to snack on when you feel the need.
The upsides and a practical method
Now, how do you learn to become more accepting and to accept things quicker? One important part is to realize what’s in it for you. When you realize that you can have less suffering, become more effective and live a more pleasurable life you become a whole lot more keen on being accepting. With these reasons in mind I have found that I play less mind games with myself. I just try to accept what is a soon as possible since I know there are upsides in it for me.
IÂ´d like to close this article with one practical method for decreasing resistance and for accepting more easily.
If you have read this blog for a while then I’m sure you have heard about it before. But the reason I keep mentioning it is because it’s simple and more effective than you might expect at first. Here is what you do:
When you feel a negative feeling then accept that feeling. Don’t try to fight it or to keep it out (like many of us have learned throughout life). Say yes to it.
Surrender and let it in. Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labelling or judging it. If you let it in – for me the feeling then often seems to physically locate itself to the middle of my chest – and just observe it for maybe a minute or two something wonderful happens. The feeling just vanishes. And your mind stops putting in new energy into the problem.
Acceptance is a pretty powerful stuff. You may be surprised at how this simple thing can change how you think, feel and live.
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