How many times a day do you find yourself in anxiety, fear, judgement, anger – with yourself or somebody else? Our default habit is to either lash out emotionally, and regretting that at a later time, or try to push them away, or push them down, denying them. This takes so much energy – and in some cases can lead to problems with mental health.
The word ‘acceptance’ has different meanings. It can be used to mean resignation, or giving up on something ever changing. Or it can be used to mean the acceptance of what is here, right now. This is the context I’m referring to.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
Allowing the Tough Emotions
When I accept and acknowledge what is here in this moment, I am creating a space for choice, I am no longer a victim of my challenging emotions.
Four key points:
- Allowing those tough emotions to exist for the moment does not mean we’ve chosen not to take action. It simply allows the possibility of a different relationship to the experience, one of choice rather than victim. Accepting is not the same as being submissive, helpless or inactive.
- Denying that tough emotions are happening is more risky for your mental health. We can waste so much of our precious energy in denial, pushing down on them. In some cases, this can lead on to addiction and other destructive habits. Shifting your basic awareness to one of allowing rather than denial enables you to mindfully recognise that fear / anger / judgement, or whatever, is present.
- Accepting enables you to work through each unpleasant experience. By pausing in the moment, being aware of the challenging emotion, you create a moment of choice for your response.
- Bringing attention or awareness to the sensations that arise from tough emotions allows for the possibility to respond differently to such sensations in each moment.
- And here’s the main point here: working through your body may allow you to realise that you can allow yourself to experience unpleasant experiences and still be okay.
There are some simple steps:
- Become aware of the unpleasant emotion(s) and sensations arising in your body;
- Acknowledge them – simply say to yourself ‘here’s anxiety / fear / judgement / anger’;
- Breathe into the unpleasant emotion, simply be with it; for now, don’t ask yourself why it’s there;
- In this space, give yourself the choice of how you wish to respond, rather than a default emotional blitz;
As you move through these steps with your challenging emotions, you grow in self-trust, self-compassion and self-confidence.
Look, I’m the first to say this change takes time, commitment and practice. Please believe me – this practice can be life-changing. If you don’t already have a journal, buy yourself a lovely notebook; begin a Reflection Journey for yourself on how you are becoming more accepting, and how this is enhancing your self-trust and self-confidence.
This is only a very short intro to accepting and allowing. Visit my website for information about workshops and courses to help you grow in self-trusting, self-accepting and self-confident. Details over on www.trudyarthurs.com , or on Facebook Trudy Arthurs, The Compassionate Confidence Specialist. I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Dancing Leopards Ltd 2017