Going with the Flow: Learning the Art of Acceptance

Dr. Purushothaman
August 22, 2013

What is acceptance? It a psychological state which we can explore from various perspectives:

The intuitive perspective. Acceptance is an intuitive perception that, although we might not know the reason for the existence of something, it has:

A right to exist.

A place in the grand scheme.

A valid insistence that we come to terms with it.

A reason for being in our life. For example, perhaps we need to learn something from it.

An archetype of spirit. Even if the archetype is expressed in a repulsive manner, we recognize that it is a part of life which is exploring itself.

The mental perspective. Acceptance is a neutral, intellectual acknowledgment of reality. If we do not accept, we have two other options:

Denial (i.e., repression). We refuse to perceive things; we deny that they exist.

Judgmentalness. We perceive things, but we do not perceive them from the intuitive perspective -- e.g., intuiting that they have a right to exist, etc. Judgmentalness is an intellectual "death sentence"; we condemn the thing, and we decide that it should be destroyed, because we "don't want to deal with it." Acceptance means neither criticizing nor exalting; instead, we have equanimity toward both the object's imperfections and its merits.

The "life-energy" perspective. Acceptance is a willingness to allow our natural outflow of vitality toward people, from one soul to another; we don't "damn" the person by attempting to "dam" this flow of life-energy. Regardless of our material circumstances with this human being, he or she is entitled to that soulful connection; we don't "put the person out of our heart."

The transcendental perspective. This transcendental quality means that acceptance is a state which can co-exist with paradoxically contrary states, in both our viewpoint and our actions:

Our viewpoint. Acceptance is a psychological function which is separate from other psychological functions; therefore, we can accept something regardless of our thoughts, images, or feelings pertaining to it -- our liking or disliking, our approval or disapproval, etc. Thus, acceptance is similar to "unconditional positive regard" and "unconditional love."

Our actions. We can accept something while simultaneously trying to change it; for example, we can accept the reality of international aggression while still trying to create the condition of peace. In fact, we will be more effective in enacting a change, because our acceptance has allowed us to view the situation clearly (instead of denying and repressing our discernment of it); acceptance (in contrast to denial) lets us look directly at the opponent, to discover weaknesses in its attack, and to discern the reason for its success in challenging our defenses. Acceptance is generally considered to be a passive state, but it is actually an active state:
We accept our desire to change unpleasant conditions, while we simultaneously accept the reality that those conditions exist. We do not passively submit to those unpleasant conditions.
Instead of passively stagnating with our denials and hatreds and avoidances, acceptance lets us see the potentials in whatever is presented to us, and it allows us to explore those potentials whole-heartedly.
When we accept all parts of ourselves, we develop understanding and compassion toward people who are expressing those same traits. We still protect ourselves; however, we don't do it with vindictiveness or shadow projection. Indeed, we can protect ourselves more effectively now, because we understand unpleasant traits (having seen them within ourselves) and also because we are not distracted by the outrage which we would feel.

Our identity. In self-acceptance, we gain an honest, balanced view of ourselves, because we discern both the darkness and light within us, both the shadow and the ego, all traits and their opposites; thus, we don't create a phony self-image of ourselves as having any particular permanent characteristics but instead we might merely observe tendencies and habits in our behavior along with the frequent exceptions from the equally valid contrary side of us. Self-acceptance if easier is we differentiate between ourselves and our actions, thoughts, energy tones, and imagery; we are not what we do. There is a connection and a responsibility between ourselves and those elements -- but, for example, a "bad" action does not make us a "bad" person. We might dislike certain things that we do, but we don't dislike (and shame) ourselves for whatever we do in any given moment. With this overview, we know that we are capable a large range of behaviors, so there is ultimately nothing to be claimed or disclaimed. Instead, we have a sense of selfhood which transcends our actions; this transcendental part of us is the soul.

Article Source : http://www.trans4mind.com/jamesharveystout/accept.htm

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