Accept to move on

Whether we like it or not, our experiences change. It’s an inevitable product of life. Sometimes these changes require very little of us. For example, noticing a colour of a rose that we haven’t seen before means that we have to expand our knowledge of roses to now include that colour. Some changes, however, demand much more from us. These are changes that affect many aspects of our emotional lives. Take a person who has never had to cope with anxiety but at the age of thirty, has a panic attack. This often causes chaos resulting in emotions such as confusion, denial, helplessness, anger and depression. This is because it is not simply the anxiety that this person must now deal with. Their entire belief system, conscious or unconscious, is placed in upheaval and must be re-organized to accommodate this new experience. This is complicated further by the existence in many cases of opposing beliefs. For example, it is common for someone who has never experienced anxiety to have formed a belief about themselves to include a “that could never happen to me” statement or worse, “people with anxiety are weak.” That many of these pre-existing beliefs are unconscious, does not help matters. When beliefs about ourselves oppose our experience, havoc occurs. The key to dealing with anxiety or any other uncomfortable emotion is acceptance. This acceptance has to be from the inside out, from the very core of who be believe we are. Acceptance requires that we change the beliefs that counter our ability to accommodate a new reality. This process can often begin with a question different from the one we are already asking. “Why is this happening to me?” must be replaced with: “What do I believe about this that prevents me from accepting it?” Don’t confuse acceptance with complacency. As unintuitive as it seems, these two are conversely correlated. When we are in a state of non-acceptance, all our energy and focus is on keeping our experience in a negative holding-pattern. This is complacency. Acceptance frees us to focus on moving forward, a place much more likely to house resolution for any state of mind that we happen to be in.