Acceptance has always been tricky for me. I always found it difficult to accept situations that make my blood boil. There was a gut instinct I had from a young age, call it conscience or an innate responsibility, I felt to fight for justice! Perhaps I was fighting for myself? Perhaps in fighting for others, I helped myself!
It makes sense that in my early twenties I became a qualified Social Worker. So when I saw injustice I did not accept it, I mostly tried to act against it or spoke against it and in those times I felt I needed to stay silent, I found I never accepted the state of affairs in my heart! Twenty seven years later and although still a Social Worker by day who advocates for young people in the criminal justice system and refuses to accept that they are treated with contempt but dignity, one major thing has changed. For the last six months, I am accepting my role and purpose is being a Trauma Recovery Coach who enables individuals to accept the situation they find themselves in, whether that is the traumatic experience they have had in their lives or the trauma they have to witness every day during their working week because they chose to be a Doctor. Psychologist. Social Worker or Nurse. I know the challenge of accepting difficult situations very intimately.
So when I talk about acceptance, I am sure you understand now I am talking about an inner process and situations we cannot change like a death of a loved one or illness we have to deal with. I am sure now you know, I am not asking you to accept injustice or oppression or abuse. I am talking about accepting things we cannot control that are beyond any action we can take. I am talking about how we reconcile ourselves to affiction, advserity and suffering.
This reconciling I always find means letting go of our need to control the situation and giving ourselves permission to just rest from the situation or to embrace it. This embracing is not easy. But no matter how terrible I have found in this embracing reconciling and resting lies some peace and ability to move on.
Acceptance of the most traumatic of situations allows a small shift to occur, so from shock or horror or denial, healing is enabled. This embracing. This letting go. this allowing ourselves to rest is the key to healing. It is a very small shift but big things happen.
Acceptance for me is going beyond the self to a realm of something greater more wiser than myself.
I have then felt an immense release and relief. In the most darkest of moments and when working with my clients, this acceptance unravels so much!
Acceptance is not just an intellectual exercise. It relies on emotional and spiritual muscle.
Acceptance in the most painful and adverse of situations has involved for me and my clients a tremendous leap of faith but paradoxically also drowning in a sea of doubt.
More than anything I know acceptance is not a passive activity. I will talk about that more next time. For now I hope whatever you need to accept enables healing and growth within you and those around you.