I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.
-- John D Rockefeller

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - December 2013

The power of acceptance

It can significantly reduce your stress level, make you vastly more productive and effective, and make your relationships far more fulfilling. In fact, it can help you to improve every area of your life. It doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t require any specialized training. It requires no physical effort of any kind.

It is, simply, acceptance of what is.

When you accept what is, it does not mean that you sit back and let life roll over you. It does not mean that you resign yourself to remaining stuck where you are. It does not mean that you allow others to take advantage of you, or that you refrain from taking any action to make things better. It means simply that you accept what is, right now in this moment, for what it is, without fighting or denial or worry, without illusions, without blame or remorse or resentment. When you accept what is, it does not mean that you are willing to live with it forever. It means simply that you’re acknowledging the reality of the current situation, freeing yourself from the grasp of any disappointments of the past or worry about the future.

On the surface, acceptance is something that is very easy to do. After all, it involves no action or effort of any kind. And yet acceptance can be extremely difficult to achieve. Because your mind is constantly reminding you of the past and projecting you into the future, making all sorts of judgments and assumptions about things that simply do not exist at the current time. Acceptance is a matter of putting all that aside, of looking clearly at where you are and at when your circumstances are, being sincerely grateful for your situation, whatever it may be, and then making the very best of what is available to you.

The past is over and cannot be changed. So it does not serve any purpose to complain loudly about it, or to argue about it, or to assign blame for things that have already happened. Yes, there are things you can learn from the past and from where your past actions, and the actions of others, have brought you. But wishing you had done something differently will not make it so. The time you have available to you is this moment, right now. And the best thing you can do now, in this moment, is to act with full acceptance of the reality of the moment.

Similarly, the future is not here. Nothing in the future exists at this point in time, and worrying about what will happen is just an empty exercise, not to mention a waste of the present moment. The things you worry about in the future exist only in your mind right now. Certainly it is wise to anticipate what could happen and to take action now that will help you to be better prepared. But be careful that your worries about the future do not prevent you from making the most of what is available to you right now.

So what exactly can acceptance do for you, and how?

Acceptance can keep you focused on what really matters, on what really can make a difference, which is what you can do right now. You cannot take any action in the past, so it doesn’t make much sense to keep your attention focused on past events. Though you can certainly plan for the future, you cannot currently take any future actions. The current moment is what is available to you. So the more willingly and realistically you accept it, the more you’re able to accomplish with it.

Acceptance saves you the wasted effort of fighting against things that do not exist, and frees up your energy so you can put that energy to use in moving positively forward. Acceptance allows you to make decisions based on what you can actually do, right here and now, rather than on what might have been or what might could be. As such, when you consistently practice acceptance it can be enormously liberating.


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—Ralph Marston