Restorative Routines Values & Authenticity

How we can develop acceptance

I recently had emergency surgery – on Christmas Day. This was completely out of the blue. I was well up until the point I was suddenly not well and had to be opened up on the operating table, my life in the hands of the surgeons. 

In the days after the surgery I felt traumatised. Physically initially, but my body recovered quickly. What surprised me most was the emotional trauma. It’s a subject we don’t often talk about. I thought I would feel relieved after the operation; optimistic, hopeful, grateful. A great opportunity to learn another life lesson and practice all the self care tools I know. 

To be fair, I did have moments of positivity, but these were fleeting. 

In actual fact, I was on the opposite end of the spectrum of those positive feelings. Worthlessness, despair, hopelessness; this is unfair; I’m not good enough; shock, disappointment, shame. So many thoughts and feelings took me on a steep rollercoaster downwards. 

Fortunately, previous life challenges have taught me that there is no moving forward until you accept where you are. Only when you find your current location can you get directions to where you want to be. 

So the first step is acceptance of where you are and what you feel.

What is acceptance?

Acceptance is being willing to be vulnerable. It is turning inward, courageously facing our feelings and asking ourselves ‘How do I feel in this moment?’

It’s the bravery of staying to listen to the answer, and experiencing the feelings that come up. These feelings shouldn’t be suppressed, they should be allowed to rise up, so you physically feel the emotions in your body.

Our feelings can be difficult and uncomfortable to sit with. In fact, they can feel like all sorts of unpleasant sensations in both the mind and the body, including aching, pain, nausea and anxiety, to name a few. But developing awareness of your feelings means you can acknowledge them and know what you are dealing with. 

Acceptance is being willing to be vulnerable. It is turning inward, courageously facing our feelings and asking ourselves ‘How do I feel in this moment?’

Try not to suppress your feelings, because when we do that, we will often find that they bubble up at some point, whether we want them to or not.

Accept what you feel. Accept the situation. Don’t try to change anything; don’t try to find the positive or the lesson. 

Just accept. 

Develop the skill of acceptance

Regularly practising an acceptance meditation for 10 minutes a day can help develop the skill of acceptance. 

Try these words:

“I accept this moment in time.”

“I accept how I feel.”

“I have the courage to accept myself just as I am.”

“I am brave and can accept how I feel.”

“I am being gentle on myself and learning to accept how I feel.”

“Being here, as I am, is good enough.”

Over time the feeling of a weight being lifted off your shoulders will replace the heaviness of difficult emotions. 

Just to warn you, it is still a rollercoaster: you can practice acceptance, move forward and then the next day a new emotion or memory takes you on a steep ride downward. 

But overall you will still be moving forward.


Meditations you might find useful:

Meditation for Acceptance

Meditation to stay calm and boost the immune system

Meditation for healing