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Acceptance of our past, present, future, ourselves and what others do is a key to contentment and happiness and very helpful to combat anxiety and depression

Acceptance of our PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE, OURSELVES and what OTHER PEOPLE do is a key to contentment and happiness, and helpful to combat anxiety and depression. Carrying around resentment, annoyance, or ill feeling about things we cannot change or our past negative experiences serves only to weigh us down with negative vibes. 

Let’s look at some examples and possibly what to do about each of them…

PRESENT NATURAL EVENTS OR BECAUSE OF OTHERS…

A current disturbance for many… I am continually shocked at just how upset people get about politics even after a democratic vote has chosen a certain route. Most recently, in the UK, this has been prevalent around the vote to leave the EU and the vote for a Conservative Government. The vote is done yet many cannot accept it. I have seen and heard a lot of anger, abuse and arguments about it all. It really would be easier for us if we can accept something we cannot change in the moment. If we can change it, seek to do so, but if we cannot, accept it. Not just politics, but many other things we cannot change, such as crime, abuse and farming. Again, if we can do something about things we are passionate about, then great, do so – I wholeheartedly support using our own voice and individuality. I personally, for the last 15 years, have wished everyone would stop consuming palm oil, which, by its production, harms the environment, the rainforest, the indigenous people, the wildlife which exists in the environment including the beautiful Orangutan (second closest in DNA to a human), and our own health (via eating it). But, I had to give up on my frustrations with people not coming on board with my campaign and just campaign fuelled by hope instead. I felt a lot better for it.

OUR PAST NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES – NATURAL EVENTS OR BECAUSE OF OTHERS…

If there is any chance you can deal with negative past experiences then try with all you have in you. Maybe you need to talk about the events, or write down what happened.

Think about who was involved, how you felt then, how you feel now about it, what happened, and what you can do about it now. Is there anything you can do? If there is, great, but if there isn’t, why hold on to the memory? Why keep it in your conscious mind, so it can eat away at you? Can you change it? If you can’t, let it go. We can accept that even negative events in life can lead to positive outcomes.

If I hadn’t had a dysfunctional childhood, with negatives in it, or had mental health issues, I wouldn’t have spent years writing about it, and publishing my first book – a memoir. I wouldn’t have gone on to learn more about writing and editing, and published ten books. I probably wouldn’t be a therapeutic counsellor now, as the drive to help others’ by writing and counselling was borne from me having lots of talking therapies, which helped me no end. Or reading other people’s memoirs which helped me feel less alone.

I used to spend far too much time resenting, misunderstanding, and wishing I could change my past, and all the wrongdoings of others’ towards me, including someone who sent me into bankruptcy, but all it did was make me miserable and I couldn’t live in the moment of the present day because my mind was always so full of the past, going over and over in my head. It affected me mentally and physically.

Once I learnt to work through my past and learn as much as I could from it, so as not to make the same mistakes, or to understand others’ behaviours plus my own, it was time to accept it all as the past and move on in a more positive way. I learnt to take a good look at my relationships, and stick to ones that were more positive for me and the acceptance of the past allowed me to enjoy life, be more content, and to live more in the moment.

To accept means we can:

  • Learn something – how not to make mistakes, how we can do something we thought we couldn’t, how to empathise with others and see things from their point of view, that things did not turn out as bad as we may have predicted etc
  • Be more free of discontent
  • Not harbour resentment as this could affect our relationships (mistrust etc)
  • Leaves us with more energy for the things that we can do something about
  • Gives us a clearer mind
  • Stops us worrying
  • Helps with symptoms of anxiety and depression

I counselled a client who resented his friends for their positive upbringings and all the opportunities that were open to them, but when I asked if they are happier than him, he thought for a moment and said ‘no’. I asked him if they had taken up their myriad of opportunities and he said no. I then asked him who was further ahead in his job and saving money and he said he was. I said this was because he had to make his own way in the world at seventeen, with big responsibility so he was way ahead in work and knowing what direction he needed to go in life, while they live at home with their parents (nothing wrong with that). Once he realised that all the past negatives in his life had made him the determined, intelligent young man of today, his resentment of his past, his parents and his friends slowly melted. He felt even stronger and more positive.

WORRYING ABOUT THE FUTURE…

The other thing to accept, which is very important, is the future. Whatever it is that we worry about, it is ALWAYS about the future, which hasn’t happened yet. But, if we can understand the worst that could happen, and how we might overcome issues, with a plan in place, and the knowledge that we have done all we can do about it, then we need to try to accept that fact. Worrying about it will not change it; it will just upset us, anger us, and make our chances of living in the moment of ‘today’ slim.

Think about your own past and how you could accept them, and your own concerns for the future, and how you can lower the worry of the unknown which might or might not come. On so many occasions we can expect something bad to happen and it doesn’t, and we realise we caused ourselves lots of stress for nothing, but it’s learning from our mistakes that’s the positive way, not ignoring them.

ACCEPTING YOURSELF…

Acceptance is also about accepting yourself as you are (tell yourself you are enough) and accepting others’ as they are.

Acceptance has worked wonders for me, and I hope it works for you too! X

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