What have you learned to accept that has made you more content?
I have a habit.
It's a quirk, if you will, that likes to creep up once in a while: I have the involuntary urge to type the dialogue I'm watching on TV (like, on an imaginary typewriter).
This sounds odd, I know. I don't like it. It distracts me. But I've learned to not let it bug me when it happens. I've realized that the habit exists, so I recognize my feelings of resistance to it, and I ultimately accept it as my reality. Over time, it passes, and I've noticed that when I'm not thinking about how annoying it is, it doesn't bother me as much.
Acceptance is one of the most difficult steps when dealing with any unpleasant situation that's affecting our lives.
All of us handle it differently. We have ways that work for us when we're trying to come to terms with an issues that causes us harm — emotionally, physically, or psychologically.
And on Sept. 6, 2016, the thought-provoking hashtag #IveLearnedToAccept started trending on Twitter, inspiring an interesting conversation about this very thing.
These 11 tweets perfectly capture the powerful range of responses:
1. Like coming to difficult realizations.
2. Or not caring about what others think.
3. And learning to love yourself just the way you are.
4. Some observations made me chuckle.
5. And they made me think about unconditional love, like Regina and her dad.
6. Others were powerful reminders that a lot of things are out of our control.
7. And there were lots of reminders that we can't please everyone.
8. Other tweets spoke about the timing of our lives.
9. Or put it very simply...
10. Sure, life can seem unfair sometimes.
11. But as soon as we accept that, we can learn to better appreciate the little things.
Dr. Steve Taylor, a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Becket University, explained to me that acceptance can actually be the difference between well-being and unhappiness.
"The act of acceptance releases frustration and resentment and connects us to the present experience of our lives. We are no longer in conflict with our experience, but embrace it," he says.
He even came up with four steps that can help get you started when something's bugging you and you realize you need to face the issue head-on:
- Become aware of your negative feelings and thoughts. Acknowledge them.
- Give your attention to the reality of the situation. Maybe if you're irritated waiting for an appointment, notice the artwork in the office or listen to the music they may be playing in the waiting room.
- Consciously replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Catch yourself when you're being a negative Nancy and do a 360 on that train of thought. That tends to get easier with practice.
- If you still feel any resistance to what you were having trouble accepting, make like "Frozen" and let it go! Instead of running from your reality, run toward it and give it a great big hug.
These steps may not work for everyone, but they can help kickstart your acceptance streak.
Here's to the path to a freer, more relaxed, and happier you!