Acceptance is important in your life. It allows you to make peace with the your past and move forward with your life. The first step to acceptance is learning what acceptance is versus what it is not.
Acceptance is not forgiveness, forgetting, letting it go, being ok, denial, allowing it, agreeing with it or understanding.
Acceptance is making space, letting yourself off of the hook, especially from suffering and ‘It is what it is’.
There are 10 steps towards acceptance.
- Honor the full sweep of your emotions.
- Seek to fully feel your emotions and express those emotions that you feel. Understand your emotions, thoughts & embrace them as valuable feedback for your life.
- Give up your need for revenge but continue to seek a just resolution.
- Let go of your natural instinct to hurt back or take revenge from the person who hurt you. Revenge will give you a false sense of power over another, however this power is considered ‘cheap thrills’ & will ultimately hurt you more over time. Mindfully turn away from retaliation and look to empower, grow & strengthen yourself.
- Stop obsessing about the injury and re-engage with life.
- Gain awareness to stop & replace repetitive toxic thinking patterns which only cause ongoing distress, trauma and harm. You have to create a conscious awareness and be mindful.
- Protect yourself from further abuse.
- Accepting the wrongness of the actions allows you to learn how to distance and protect yourself in the future. Use the pain of the experience to learn & grow and take precautions to ensure your safety in the present and future. Make changes.
- Frame the offender’s behaviour in terms of their own problems and personal struggles
- Try to see things from the offender’s point of view. The wrongful actions are about the person who acted wrongly. “Their neediness to feel important by tearing others down”. The more you know about them and their situations, the more you won’t take their behavior personally. Never let another person’s actions dictate how you feel about yourself.
- Look honestly at your own contribution to the injury.
- Examine how your actions, approach & choices may have contributed to the situation.This is not about blaming yourself. Authentically examine your own life, self & issues to look at how your own fears, past experiences and beliefs, etc, prevented you from seeing that you deserved so much better. That you didn’t deserve to be hurt. Allow the pain of experience to teach you that you are more than a victim. The person who most needs your forgiveness is yourself.
- Challenge your false assumptions about what happened.
- Identify and challenge any limiting beliefs or false assumptions. Identify toxic or limiting patterns, and don’t edit or rationalize these ideas. Ask yourself, ‘Is it true? What toxic thinking pattern does it fall under? What limiting belief underlies this thinking? It is an empowering or a limiting belief?’ Is this typical of your thinking? If so, why? If not, why are you thinking in this manner?
- Look at the offender apart from his offense, weighing the good against the bad.
- Look at the person separate from their actions. Also look at the person & their behaviors for their impact on you and your life. Has their impact been mostly positive or negative?
- Decide carefully what kind of relationship you want in the future with the person who wronged you.
- How do you relate to this person overall? Is reconciliation possible? If not, is it possible to even interact with the person? Is forgiveness an option? Be gentle with yourself & take time to sort through your emotions. Learn to trust yourself and your feelings.
- Forgive yourself for your own failings.
- Fully forgive yourself for any of your own mistakes or failings related to the situation. As Maya Angelou has said, “When you know better, you do better”. Your mistakes or failings stem from ingrained old ways of getting your universally human need to matter met. Forgiving yourself will make it easier to let go of obsessive thinking patterns, such as blaming yourself for what happened, which would only keep you from living your life fully engaged with the people and activities you love.
Learning to accept situations, especially ones that are out of your control, will give you more control over your own life. Acceptance is not forgiveness but rather the willingness to allow yourself to learn from the experience rather than allowing the situation to continue to harm you.