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

Reconnecting with your values to create calm and authenticity

reconnecting with your values

There are huge benefits to your wellbeing from knowing what your values are. Reconnecting with your values will help you to be calmer and less stressed in your daily life – because if you’re clear about them, you’ll be better able to live in alignment with who you really are.

Values are what matter most to us in life. They are what drive our opinions, emotions and actions. If you’re living against your values you will be in a chronic state of stress – and your feeling of dis-ease can actually become disease.

Reconnecting with your values to revive your sense of self

Being authentic and living through your values is essential for reviving your sense of self. Living authentically makes you feel connected to your higher self and lessens the drive to compare yourself to others. 

It’s easy sometimes to look at someone with a similar challenge in life – stress, health problems, relationship problems, body issues etc – and think they seem to be coping so much better than you. It’s easy to compare and put yourself down as not being as good as someone else in overcoming a challenge. But we never truly know how anyone else is coping unless we ask (and their response is truthful!) – and comparing ourselves to others can cause us to veer off course, away from our authentic selves.

You have to know yourself to create a life that will make you happy and content. And to ensure you’re not on a life path that is making you feel uneasy and torn.

Approach your challenges as yourself, using your strengths

It can be helpful to observe the strategies other people use to cope and to create a good quality life for themselves – and try some of these tools out to see what fits for you. But above all, try to approach your challenges as yourself, using your strengths. 

You have to know yourself to create a life that will make you happy and content. And to ensure you’re not on a life path that is making you feel uneasy and torn.

Reconnecting with your values will help:

  • Give you clarity on your purpose
  • Guide your behaviours, actions and reactions
  • Make sure you’re not wasting time on energy-sapping things
  • Give you self confidence
  • Develop a friendship group that serves you and gives you a sense of belonging
  • Revive your sense of self
  • Create a life you will really enjoy

Are you living true to your values?

It’s time to sit down and get clear on what your values are. What’s truly important to you? What makes you happy? What are your priorities in life? 

1. List. Start by making a list of 10-15 values (things that are important to you).

2. Condense. Now condense that list down to your top five values. You might find it helpful to write each value on a separate scrap of paper, and physically move them into order of importance, to help you work out which five are really the most important.

You also might find that some of the values from your initial list are really part of the same core value – so together they will form one of your five (for example, ‘my children’ and ‘caring for my elderly parents’ could become ‘family’).

As an example, mine are:


3. Reflect. When you’ve got your five main values, and they feel right to you, it’s time to reflect: does your current way of living/being match your values? Does everything you do each day support them, or are there some things you do that aren’t in alignment?

4. Make a change. Are there any changes you could make in your home or work life that would make you more aligned to your values?

Start living in alignment with your values

Now you’ve established what your values are, try to make sure that every decision you make from now on (big or small!) is aligned to those values. Let go of behaviours that do not feel good to you, and instead emphasise and focus on the behaviours that do. 

Because true wellness is found when you are being your true self – and being true to yourself. Your unique, authentic, content, happy, forgiving, grateful and loving self.