When you become aware of what is, you have the choice to change it. Until you are aware of something, you have no show of changing it.
Most people think “When I accept what is, I can change it”.
This is one on the most misleading and dangerous assumptions out there in personal development.
Let’s say today, I see for the first time, I have a deeply ingrained issue with the opposite gender, that not only destroys any chance of happy friendships or any other type of interaction with men that is successful and positive, but it actually makes me a bitter, unhappy, miserable person as well.
What am I going to do about this? Am I going to sit around and think about different ways of ACCEPTING this about myself? Or, am I going to book myself as fast as possible in with a therapist, coach or healer, who can help me do something to deconstruct, understand, release and heal this issue.
Taking time to accept what is, is an excuse to not do anything about it and is a huge distraction.
Most of us don’t have the skills to get to acceptance, which is a long way down the food chain on the ‘sorting ourselves out’ scale. This is because acceptance comes about naturally as we heal, deconstruct unhelpful ways of thinking and feeling and let go of the past. When we feel there is no option for improvement, we have to continue to accept what is wrong, in order to cope with life.
This is one reason I am not a fan of 12 step programs. Instead of changing the conditions that lead to addiction, such as the legacy of shame based parenting, abuse and trauma, the 12 step program keeps people stuck, by making them sit around and continue to accept their powerlessness over their addiction. This keeps them small, powerless and opting out of life in the name of their ‘incurable dis-ease’.
Science now acknowledges this is completely unnecessary. If you remove the conditions that led to the addiction from the neural pathways, cellular memory, energy field and muscle memory, a person becomes free. When you also teach that same person tools and skills for confidently managing energy, their emotions, body and life and they are supported and connected to others, they don’t need to continue to try to accept something they are powerless over.
I discovered it is much easier to accept unlikeable, painful things about myself, AFTER I’ve dealt with them, instead of wasting time, sitting around, trying to accept them, whilst feeling painful, wretched, overwhelmed and stuck.
When I decided to change my entire life about seven years ago now, it was because I absolutely, vehemently, refused to accept what was. I saw it and I didn’t like it. And in order to get to a place of acceptance about who I was being and how I got there, I needed to change everything about my life.
I understood the magnitude of this decision at the time, but didn’t perceive all the work and adjustments, learning, discomfort, fear and much more, that I would encounter, during my change process. This is fortunate, or I may never have embarked on such a major, revolutionary and life up-ending trajectory. I would have probably sat around in a type of permanent purgatory, trying to accept these aspects of myself and hating on me, instead.
To be clear, I’m not saying I rejected myself or my life. I am saying that I was no longer willing to tolerate a life I couldn’t stand, nor a future that looked bleak, desperate and miserable. On the basis of past evidence up until that point, that’s what I was in for.
What led me to making a decision to change was NOT acceptance, it was AWARENESS.
Once I saw I COULD change and began to comprehend how things were as they were, nothing was going to stop me from unraveling my past.
I was DETERMINED to create a purposeful life, which would liberate me and in so doing, empower me to discover my talents, capacities and strength. Discovering these made it much easier for me to later ACCEPT the limitations that were left. I was also much further down the track of acquiring the skills and self-belief to change these as well, so they didn’t seem so overwhelming and painful.
Don’t get me wrong, that decision to change what I didn’t like about me and carrying it out, took UNLIMITED amounts of COURAGE. I was scared shit less much of the time, especially early on. The alternative was death and I wasn’t willing to exist in a ‘near death state’ any longer.
Changing consumed me. And in the process of getting to now, I rebuilt myself from the inside out. I created my own ground zero and I made a DECISION to face everything bit by bit in the process.
I decide to examine, cross examine and grasp every bit of what hurt, to explore, own, comprehend and then to TRANSFORM it into what I actually did want. I desired to understand the spirit, soul, psyche, our choices and suffering on the deepest level and to use that knowledge to propel me into the best version of me I could muster.
On that journey, I faced as much of myself as humanly possible and what I unexpectedly stumbled across was peace, humility, resilience, beauty, heartbreak, grit, strength, fragility, humor and an unbreakable spirit, that has guided me throughout. I uncovered my potency and who I am, irrevocably. With that has come immense liberation and self love.
To me this is the heart of the personal development journey.
It’s not finding a reason to accept anything (unless you want to), it’s finding a compelling reason to change everything that doesn’t work and embarking on the challenge and process of working out the ‘how’, one confused and difficult step at a time. Acquiring momentum facilitates answers to emerge along the way.
It’s about lighting a fire of change under yourself and having the heart to KNOW, no matter how intense the heat from the forge of your re-birth gets, it’s not half as bad as living a half-life. The daily devastation that existing in a state of fear, shame, depression, paralysis, passivity and longing that an overwhelmingly difficult set of life experiences can create.
I’ve never known a worse feeling that being stuck in that prison of self-hatred about what I had been through and was carrying. One day at a time, I was dying from the agony of it.
For a long time, in the absence of knowing how to get free, I was settling for imprisonment of my own making and waiting for a rescuer.
Although I didn’t know it then, that ‘rescuer’ was me and I’m so grateful that she didn’t sit around trying to accept what had happened, she made a decision, went out and changed it instead.
Today, I stand before you, metamorphosed, different on a cellular level, largely trauma free, lighter, confident, trusting, aware of my own endurance and wisdom and I urge you, don’t ACCEPT what is. If you dislike it, REFUSE to accept it. This refusal generates a force which you can use to move mountains, create and un-create anything.
Make certain that you become AWARE not ACCEPTING, because once we know what is, we cannot un-know it and we cannot short change ourselves under the pretence of acceptance.