Posts Tagged ‘yes’
August 6th, 2011
Ian recently asked me what the word “acceptance” means. I told him, “Acceptance is when we welcome people or things just as they are. No matter what.”
“But what if you don’t like the thing? Then you don’t have to accept it, right?” Ian responded.
I told him, “Not exactly” and we proceeded to have a conversation about acceptance. After our discussion had concluded, I got to thinking about most adult perspectives on acceptance, and I realized that most people have the same stance as Ian. Most people seem to think that if we don’t like something, we don’t have to accept it.
Many people tend to think that acceptance is akin to love, preference, or promotion. But that is not exactly true. When we accept something for what it is, be it a person, an idea, or an experience, we are simply accepting and acknowledging it just as it is. We are not saying that we like it, that we love it, that it is good or bad. Rather, we are maintaining an open mind and saying to ourselves “it is what it is, and it is part of life”.
In the book Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach likens acceptance to the practice of saying yes. To say “yes” to the people and experiences we encounter in life is nothing more than accepting and acknowledging the presence of what is happening. To say “yes” is to say that something exists, that it is real, that you have a reaction to it. To say “yes” may be to say “welcome” with open arms, or it may be said begrudgingly or insincerely. We each say “yes” in different ways, at different times, depending upon what we are trying to accept.
And that is okay. Because what matters is not what exactly is happening, but rather how we are relating to the experience, the people involved, and the meaning that is derived from that relationship.
Consider how it might feel to say yes to the imperfect, messy lives that we live. To accept and acknowledge our inner experiences, our appearance, our relationships, and the people, ideas, and events that we encounter. Think about how liberating that feels, compared to resisting or denying their presence in our lives. Reflect on the inner peace that accompanies the expansiveness of “yes” compared to the limitations and dreariness of “no”.
Think for a moment what you might need to accept today and engage in the practice of saying “yes”. Do your best to accept what life has to offer you, and do what you can to make the most of it. Perhaps you cannot welcome all things with lovingkindess, but do try to open yourself to life and the peace that comes with acceptance.
Ellie Otteson, MA, CPC
Life and Wellness Coach
The New U Vitality Center