4 Steps towards Acceptance “The hardest part of the journey is about taking the first step”
Dais Features | 14/11/2020 02:41 PM
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” - Laozi
It is possible that you register these words in your mind when you are facing a difficult situation, but have you had the chance to “live” them? Have you been able to use them to accept the current economic downturn and overcome the challenges it has brought with it?
Maybe your job is at risk, or you are planning to give it up to start out on a new venture or you plan to give up the existing one due to consistent losses. Whatever your situation, however bad it has been, challenges come with an opportunity to grow.
This Diwali is special. Because this year, Diwali, the festival of lights, has come as a Beacon of Hope to a relatively darker year – a year most of us would wish to rewrite for ourselves. So this Diwali, let's remember - you can only glimpse the silver lining when you accept the black clouds hovering over you. Acceptance is the key to moving forward!
We began a series on Mental Awareness & Well-being last month on World Mental Health Day 2020. The endeavour was to try and bridge the gap between the openness of seeking help for one’s physical ailments versus for our mental discomfort.
Continuing the series onto its Second Part, this month we focus on a critical aspect of healing oneself and moving forward – Acceptance.
Acclaimed Life and Career Transitions Coach Anita Sachdev writes about acceptance and adaptability. What is happening to you is happening to most of those around you; that you need to pivot yourself to keep functioning without allowing this crisis to get the better of you.
Obstacles on the path of Acceptance
When faced with fear, your human mind and body can freeze. In an effort to cope with it, you put on a brave face but could well be in denial of what’s happening. Although this can provide you with some momentary respite, you will realize that you continue to remain on-the-edge, doubting your capabilities to face the situation. You then start avoiding any growth processes to protect yourself from future failure and disappointments. This is the time you are walking into the vicious trap of the avoidance cycle.
On the surface, it might seem like you have accepted the situation, but there are chances that deep down you are still ruminating on it. You may spend a lot of time going over the same thing, wondering as to why this is happening only to you and keep switching your emotional television on to watch how much you suffered from a certain loss. This may paralyze rational thinking and you may start catastrophizing it as a pragmatic attempt to motivate yourself through fear, which eventually can backfire.
It may seem like you are the only one facing such trouble. As a practical person, you do know subconsciously that there are areas you relatively fare better at, but during these times of duress, your mind automatically begins to push the positives behind and highlight the disappointments – Deepening the sorrow you feel for yourself and your situation.
Let me tell you firstly that these are normal human reactions which all of us experience to some degree. What sets each one of us apart though, is how we deal with these emotions and pull ourselves out of the situation. Some of us equip ourselves to do this on our own, while there are many amongst us who seek the counsel of a friend, relative, mentor or coach.
Let us try to work on a 4-step formula that you can imbibe and adapt each time such a situation surfaces.
A - Accepting the experience sensitively
Now that you understand the importance of acceptance, do you have to necessarily accept it all? Not always, you may just have to be more sensitive to what shows up. Sometimes it might be functional to escape the situation, and sometimes fight it out, or sometimes just assert yourself. Sometimes it can be an opening of a painful experience which makes you feel out of control and learning to accept it with tools on how to stay in control could keep you in the driver’s seat today and tomorrow
An experienced coach could provide you with tools to boost your psychological flexibility to help you handle each situation optimally to your advantage.
But it is up to you to accept, that the situation you are in, somehow needs to be changed or adapted to and that you can train yourself to do a better job to understand which one to choose.
B - Being aware of the impact
The second step of acceptance is gauging the impact of the situation. Maybe your income is in imminent danger, but you can handle the shock better if you have savings or can liquidate frozen assets to turn the tide around. Sharing lifestyle changes with family and close friends is a sure way to stay on track. Just because the crisis seems larger than life and everyone around you seems to be panicking, doesn't mean that you cannot display healthier ways of thinking, behaving and dealing with it.
Sometimes taking the higher road of detaching yourself from the situation and thinking neutrally could be the best way to rationally assess the impact and rise above your current reality.
C - Choosing how to behave
The third part of acceptance is choosing how to behave in every situation. At any given moment, you have a choice. You can either step forward into growth or retreat to a safe corner. Adopting a behaviour which demonstrates positive thinking and can-do attitude could do wonders to your whole demeanour and change your approach towards the problem facing you.
Gaining awareness of your strengths helps you to align actions with your goals; as well as bring the latent unconscious competencies to the conscious to find new solutions. Armed with a new self-awareness, you will be enabled to march forward like a warrior instead of staying frozen like a victim.
D – Demand Action from Self
From acceptance to impact assessment, you have created a space in your mind to think rationally while in the midst of a storm. With a change in behaviour, you have empowered yourself to attack the situation rather than defend whatever it throws at you. But unless you put your new-found courage and positive attitude to action, the entire exercise is fruitless.
Moving from self-awareness to Action is the toughest part of the task. It means a change in mind-set to a change in habits, routines and the willingness to shift the status quo. When you demand the best of yourself the universe co-operates and you will find opportunities coming to you effortlessly.
Make this Diwali the turning point of your year – let today be the final day when darkness and despair ever cloud your mind and thoughts. We wish you and your family a Very Happy Diwali and we hope a better, healthier, safer and more blessed new year for all of us!
A N I T A S A C H D E V is a globally seasoned business and communications professional and an ICF-PCC Certified Coach and a Thought Partner who inspires conscious life transitions and propels growth for individuals and corporate leaders.
Her thoughts can further be accessed Here.
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