The hurtful experiences of my unhealthy college relationship happened — I had to accept this truth. Acceptance did not mean that it should’ve happened, I deserved it or that it will happen again. Acceptance did mean that I chose to no longer abdicate my power to the past by trying to erase or ignore what happened. Acceptance did mean that I chose to face forward and heal the pain.
By not accepting, like punching smoke to put out the flames, my defensive reactions hemorrhaged precious energy in misdirected, hurtful and ineffective ways. Through acceptance I understood that my reactions were normal (anger, sadness, even hate), and it was the dynamics of my college relationship that were abnormal. Lastly, acceptance brought my wounded parts into view and closer to healing.
On this journey towards acceptance, I learned:
- Acceptance of our True Identity unearths our True Power. What happened to me was, in part, due to my lack of acceptance that I deserved anything better. I am NOT saying that this person’s behavior was my fault. When one person chooses to dishonor another, it is not the dishonored persons fault. The responsibility of the choice to dishonor lies with the person who chose to act in this way. What I AM saying is that in my situation, my lack of knowledge regarding my self-worth led me to minimize my power and bury a profound Truth:
I Am A Treasured Child of God!
When we recognize this as our true identity, we realize the profound inconsistencies inherent in the dishonorable ways we treat each other and ourselves.
- Acceptance yields strength. I viewed the recognition of my pain as a weakness; a sign that this person “really got me good.” I believed that as long as I buried the truth that my pain was real and deep, I would be fine; I would remain strong and in control. Like termites in a tree, however, my pain only ate me from the inside out. It nibbled into my joints, chewed into my mind and eventually began to consume the door to my soul. Though our exteriors may appear strong and fortified, when we refuse to accept “what is” we stifle our strength and compromise our sense of control.
- Acceptance is a seed which bears wisdom and discernment. Just as the Lodgepole seeds need to go through the fire to sprout, we need to go through our pain to heal. There is no negotiating on this truth (if there were, I would have done it ;-) ). Acknowledging our past, helps us to accept our present and set well-discerned intentions that will spiritually fortify our minds for the future.
- Acceptance is cost-effective. Refusing to accept “what is,” limits our ability to make skilled and useful choices. As a result, we ultimately make decisions based upon what we feel “should be” as opposed to “what is”:
The belief that “forests should not burn” limited our ability to make the skilled and useful choice to set controlled fires.
The belief that “I should quickly get over this relationship” limited my ability to make a skilled and useful choice to seek help or consciously heal.
Ultimately, in both cases, the cost of avoidance was much higher than the
choice of acceptance.
Please visit the SelfExplore section of the website and complete the "Parts of Me: Emotional Awareness" exercise to experience the practice of acceptance with our emotions.
In the third lesson on Witnessing, I will discuss the gifts inherent in witnessing the stories the wounded parts of us carry and desperately need to tell.
Namaste and Happy MLK Day, Brothers and Sisters!
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