HMC Day 16: Acceptance

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A lot of people think acceptance means agreeing with something or condoning it in some way.

That is not at all what it means. Acceptance is not the same as approving of or liking a situation, and it’s not about allowing others to walk all over you.

Acceptance is seeing things exactly as they are — describing circumstances, behaviors and even people in objective terms. Acceptance means recognizing the inarguable truth of a situation rather than judging it, exaggerating it or avoiding it.

 “I’m fat” or “I’m NOT fat” becomes “I weigh 200 pounds”

 “What an entitled ***hole” becomes “That guy just raised his voice in a crowded waiting room”

 “My partner should do more around the house” becomes “My partner does the dishes but does not make the bed.”

What acceptance allows you to do is a) have true clarity and b) make a choice as to what to do next. You let go of fighting reality. Instead of wishing things were different, or refusing to face uncomfortable facts, you open your eyes and see.

Without acceptance, there can be no change. You can’t start losing weight until you accept that you have weight to lose. You can’t start recovering from addiction until you accept that you’re addicted. You can’t have a better marriage until you acknowledge that there are problems.

First acceptance. Then, a choice: a) learn to live with whatever it is, or, b) find a path toward change.

Meditation helps us develop a greater capacity for acceptance because in meditation we practice noticing thoughts, feelings and physical sensations without judgment attached. Meditation helps us see with an objective eye. It allows us to watch ourselves thinking, and let go.

If you can, set your timer for 16 minutes in honor of Day 16. Sit, and begin by following your breath. Allow your thoughts and feelings to emerge. Don’t analyze your thoughts and feelings, but notice them.

When your time is up, consider: Is there something you are hanging onto for dear life? What would it be like to accept that it’s not the way you want it to be? To surrender, to let go? To set down this burden so you can move forward?

**If you missed the introductory post, welcome to the Holiday Meditation Challenge! To receive a summary of each week’s assignments in e-mail form so you can go back to them anytime, click here: