9 Attitudes of mindfulness | Deepening practice | Acceptance
When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time.
See things as they actually are in the present. Acceptance does not mean that you are satisfied with things as they are or that you are resigned to tolerating things as they “have to be.” It does not mean that you should abandon your principles and values, or abandon your desire to change and grow. Acceptance actually forms the springboard for change, because you are much more likely to know what to do and to have the inner conviction to act when you have a clear picture of what is actually happening.
We often waste a lot of time and energy denying what is fact. We are trying to force situations to how we would like them to be. This creates more tension and prevents positive change occurring.
Now is the only time we have for anything. You have to accept yourself as you are before you can really change.
Acceptance is a willingness to see things as they are. You are much more likely to know what to do and have an inner conviction to act when you have a clear picture of what is actually happening.
Acceptance in my practice
I think that acceptance is one of the most misunderstood concepts in mindfulness. Often people criticise mindfulness as encouraging practitioners to become passive and put up with situations that are unacceptable. However acceptance is not acquiescence. Acceptance does not mean becoming a pushover or a doormat. In fact, acceptance has helped me to become more assertive. I have always been fearful of confrontation, and if I felt wronged I would withdraw and cry rather than standing up for myself. Practising mindfulness has helped me to acknowledge and accept that I am upset by something and then, after accepting how things are, I am now far more likely to speak up about how I feel.
Acceptance isn’t easy
It is challenging and subtle. Often we beat ourselves up for things that we cannot change and then let ourselves off the hook for things that we can change. In meditation, sometimes we are distracted and sometimes we are more focused. If we can accept our relative lack of control over our minds, we can choose what to do. We can choose to keep meditating and not give up!