Episode 36: Acceptance
Episode 36: Acceptance
I’m LDS Life Coach Hannah Coles and you are listening to the Confidence Catalyst Podcast
When people hear, “acceptance” they might think that this is “giving in” or just “having to deal with” what is and so they resist even more causing themselves a lot of pain and suffering. Acceptance isn’t about agreeing with or endorsing what happened. It’s allowing you to let go of the thoughts depriving you of happiness and joy. When we hold tight to our story of the way things “should” have been, we limit ourselves. Learning how to accept what is, is the ticket to your freedom and peace. Tune in to hear more!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the holidays and about all of you and what I can offer to you to help you make the most of your holiday family time experience. We all have a lot of thoughts when it comes to our family. They say and do things that we don’t always agree with or think they should say and do. We give greater weight and meaning to the things they say and we interpret their actions to mean all kinds of things about us that can create drama, insecurities, and suffering for us.
So many of us struggle with certain relationships because we have a story about them. We believe that they should do certain things. That as per their title they should be a certain way and we hold them to these thoughts and standards, I should mention these standards that we never share, they’re in our heads because we think they’re obvious and just common sense and we get offended when they don’t operate the way we think they should.
When we do this we’re in resistance to what is. I’m going to quote a lot of Byron Katie today because she is kind of the master of acceptance and I absolutely love her for this work that she shares on this topic. One thing she says is,
“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is”
If you think about all the struggles and conflicts you’ve experienced in your relationships it will always boil down to this. Holding onto a thought that argues with what is.
This looks like believing they shouldn’t have said that. They shouldn’t have done that.
Then we get upset, hurt, offended not because of what they did or didn’t do but because of what you’re thinking about it. You’re arguing with what is. You believe that if they acted differently then you would be happier.
And this is really it, it’s the struggle between holding so tightly to what we believe is the correct way that we miss the opportunity to experience the peace that acceptance brings, the serenity that surrender offers.
Acceptance isn’t about agreeing with or endorsing their actions or beliefs. It’s simply choosing not to argue with reality and wishing for something different, believing that if only the past were different then you could have been happy.
Byron Katie says, “When we believe our thoughts, we stay stuck in the illusion of a limited world”.
When we are in resistance to what is we limit ourselves by only seeing one possible experience. We think it needs to be this way because this is the only way to create the peace and love that we want but it’s this very resistance to reality that blocks and limits our capacity to create love, peace, and happiness.
Several years ago I experienced this very same thing. I planned a really big party for one of my kids. It was a big deal and we spent a year thinking, planning, and creating this event. I asked my brother to come and be the photographer because he was really good at it and he had all the equipment. So the day came and we’re setting everything up and the guests start arriving and we have this big activity planned first before we can move on to anything else and I had this idea and expectation of how things should go. We’d do this, and then we’d do this, etc. And he wasn’t there. I was starting to panic because I wanted to document all the work we had done and if he wasn’t going to come I could have hired a photographer for the day.
I had so many thoughts about it, “this was a really big deal to us. We spent a lot of time and heart planning it and creating it, how could he treat it so carelessly? how could he treat me so carelessly? If he cared, he’d be here. I must not be important to him. He doesn’t respect me, all the thoughts” – and the whole time I’m trying to orchestrate this party with 30 plus 6 year olds I was also fighting with this story in my head of what should have happened.
He did come about an hour or so late and by then I was so neck deep in my resistance to what was that I couldn’t even entertain the idea that there were other options and possibilities. I was hurt and angry and I suffered because I was holding onto my story of how things should have happened. I don’t think he took any pictures that day at all, if he did, I’ve never seen them and now, over a decade later I don’t blame him. I’m sure I was cold and unresponsive because I couldn’t accept reality.
I couldn’t get to that space where I could even see reality. Reality is looking at what is from a factual standpoint. It’s looking at the circumstances. It’s acknowledging that THAT happened, now what?
But I couldn’t get there or be happy with anything because I was hanging too tightly to my story of what should have been. It was all fiction and I was the poster child for resistance to what was that day and as a result I created pain and suffering for me. Not for him, or anyone else. No one else even noticed, I’m sure but I had an image of what should have been and because it didn’t fit I felt stuck and limited and unhappy.
Byron Katie says, “Pay close attention to the particular thoughts you use to deprive yourself of happiness” – these thoughts are the stories you’re holding onto, the manual of what things should look like. When you’re holding on to these thoughts – like I was holding on to mine, you can’t create happiness because you’re too stuck in resistance. You can’t see any light because your eyes are squeezed so tightly.
Now I’m offering this to you today because I want you to start noticing and becoming aware of your stories. The things you tell yourself and the things you believe other people should be doing. What particular thoughts are you thinking that is depriving you of happiness?
When you think about the holidays and your family what are your thoughts? What are you looking forward to and not looking forward to? What are you in resistance to?
I want to teach you how to move into acceptance and let go of resistance so you can create something beautiful that goes beyond the bounds of our limited thinking.
The first thing I want you to think about is noticing what your stories are about your family or certain relationships. You can’t change anything if you’re not aware of what’s happening and what you’re creating. So notice when those negative emotions start making an appearance and start observing your thoughts about it. Notice that you’re in a form of resistance.
Then strip your story from reality. This is you putting it in the circumstance line. It has to be factual, no adjectives, no story just facts.
There’s a huge difference when you do this – it’s actually a really kind and loving thing you can do for you. Notice the difference in my story between, “He doesn’t care about me” vs. “Brother arrived at 11:59am”
The first is entirely emotionally charged and painful and the latter is just like, “and? So what?”
It’s the latter that you want to get yourself to. You want to give yourself a clean space to build from. You can build from reality and accepting what is but you can’t build from resistance because certain things needed to have happened for you to progress and they didn’t so now you’re stuck.
Create distance between your story and reality.
Pay attention to the thoughts that are depriving you from joy, growth, and possibility.
Now the next thing I want you to do to create and get to a space of pure acceptance with no hint of resistance is this, strip your mind of all judgement and thought.
I want you to think about that person or relationship you’re struggling with and notice all the thoughts you have about that person – notice your story, notice your resistance. Now think about a new born baby if they saw this person what a different experience they’d have. Babies look at images but have no language programmed yet to add meaning to it yet.
Who would you be if you had no words, no story, no language in regards to this relationship. Our whole experience rests in our telling a story about it. So if you didn’t have a story, who would you be then? Who are they then?
Awareness, reality, or simply what is.
Give yourself the opportunity to experience this relationship without your story for a moment. Notice how peaceful it becomes.
Where there’s no judgment, there’s no pain.
Where there’s no resistance there’s freedom.
Give this to yourself, not for them yet, but for you so that you can release yourself from suffering and pain. So you can get a taste of what peace and possibilities are available to you if you’re able to get out of resistance to what is. This only happens when you can let go of resistance, when you let go of your story, when you stop judging and hanging on to your manual.
When you do this you can be still. Silence is a beautiful space because it frees you to see the unlimited potential of what could be. Notice, without your story and resistance everything is okay. It offers you a do-over card. Only this time you get to start over with more insight, more wisdom, more love, and more potential to what can be.
The only time we suffer is when we’re in resistance to what is.
Think about that certain relationship in your life. Why are you struggling with it? What is your story about it? What are you telling yourself?
What would happen if you could release your story for a moment? Can you step back long enough to question it? To give yourself enough distance and space to see if you still like it and want to keep it?
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “The best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain”
Accept what is. Stop arguing with what is and what happened and focus on what you want to create from here. That happened, now what?
Strip away the story, release the resistance and notice what’s left. Facts, Circumstances, neutrality and with these peace, freedom, and a blank canvas from which to create something new.
Our thoughts create our feelings which in turn move us into action. When you’re stuck in your story and in resistance to what is what kind of feelings do you think you’re creating? frustration? Anger? unhappiness?
What kind of actions do you think comes from those feelings?
For me, it was to give the cold shoulder and grumble that things should have been different. It created distraction from being wholly present to something we had planned, and looked forward to for so long and I was missing a big portion of it because I wasn’t able to be present. My mind was elsewhere, stewing, hurting, and resisting.
In contrast, what changes when you can accept what happened, accept reality – not endorse or even agree with but accept – what feelings do you think that line of thinking would create?
Peace? Calm? Creative?
How differently would you show up if you were calm and peaceful instead of angry and hurt? What actions come from creativity and acceptance?
You experience is entirely up to you. Your holidays are entirely up to you. Your time spent with family, up to you. Accept what is. Notice your brain wanting to paint a story, to fill in the space with words, labels, judgments, fears, doubts, insecurities. Notice the thoughts depriving you from joy.
Then strip your story from reality. Only allow the facts. No adjectives, no story, no color – just black and white bare minimum facts. Notice what happens when you do this. Notice how already your feelings change and potential possibilities start appearing.
Give yourself the gift of allowing yourself to be present without a story at all. Without words, without language. Notice who you are without words to describe it to you. Notice who they are without a story attached to them.
Eckhart Tolle teaches that, “The past has no power over the present moment” – this current moment in this space. Whatever your story was of them even five minutes ago has no power in this present moment. Stay in this space without language, without definitions, without a story for as long as you need to. This is a cleansing space, a point in which you get to start over again.
Then from this place, build up. You’ve taken everything out of the room and you get to decide to put back only what you want to put back in. Only what is current, what brings you peace and love, what inspires the kind of future you want – which will never be things – but feelings. A life of love, a relationship full of connection.
Accept what is. I love the quote from Eckhart Tolle that says, “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it”
Let your mind explore the infinite possibilities that are now available to you and this relationship when you accept the moment instead of resisting it.
The more you practice this, the more freedom you allow yourself to experience. It’s such an abundant space. Letting go of resistance in embracing acceptance. Acceptance isn’t resignation that things will always be this way. It’s just releasing the shackles that were keeping you bound to the past and to your story.
Acceptance allows you to build up and to create something new, something even better than what your limited story was allowing you to create. Acceptance is the stepping stone to infinite possibilities and a deeper connection.
Instead of focusing on what they’re doing or not doing and hanging on to resistance – focus on who you are and who you want to be. When you hold tight to your story you have to show up a certain way. But when you can release that and accept what is, you also allow yourself to show up how you really want to show up, to create what you want to create, to be able to see people as you want to see them and not as you think you have to see them.
At our core we are all love. God is love and as His children we are also love. Love feels the best, love creates the best actions, love creates the best experiences for us and for those we care about.
Accepting what is allows you to access this true and highest self, to create the kind of experience we dream of creating. It’s all available to you.
It’s a choice that’s always there when you’re ready to take it.
I invite you to put this to the test this holiday season. Stop arguing with what is and embrace acceptance. I want you to experience how freeing and amazing it feels to create from this space.
You are not confined to show up how you’ve always shown up. “the past has no power over the present moment” – you get to choose who you want to be at all times. Drop the story, drop the shoulds, drop the judgments, and the labels. And try on how it feels to create from a blank canvas. To accept what is and then build from there, that happened, now what?
I’m excited to hear from you – I’m telling you, this is life changing, relationship changing work and I can’t wait for you to experience this. I want to hear all about it too.
If this seems too difficult and you need more help applying this, I invite you to join the Catalyst Membership – enrollment opens Monday the 25th and I’ll walk you through all of this. I’ll answer any questions you have and work with your specific circumstances. You can bring all of this to the membership and experience how life changing this is.
I want the best for you. You deserve better. You deserve more. I can help you get there. Head over to members.thecatalystcoaching.com and join me. You’re not just getting coaching you’re getting transformation. I can’t wait to help you. See you on the inside!