Acceptance

24 Oct

There’s a lot of talk thrown around in spirituality about “acceptance.” This is one of those philosophies that if implemented would be incredibly powerful, but is far easier said than done. See, the idea of acceptance sort of makes sense in a logical way, in that pushing oneself to change their emotions is fruitless, as emotions don’t change by the power of will alone. On the other hand, emotions can change if we accept how we feel in the present moment and in doing so, no longer push against the emotion and give it more energy.

In short,

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”
Eckhart Tolle

The following Buddhist anagram R.A.I.N. (so catchy!) should help you the next time the thought of starting your homework brings up negative emotions:

  • Recognize: Take a look within and ask yourself what you are feeling. You might have to look at it for a few seconds before the answer comes to you. Then tell yourself what you are feeling. Be complete. Say something along the lines of, “I feel stressed because it seems like this assignment will take a long time and nervous because I’m not sure if I have enough time to complete it” or “I feel _______ because ________.” Often you will have a suddenly good feeling and realization of the reason you are so nervous to start and will feel an intense urge to begin. Often recognition can make the next three steps unnecessary.
  • Accept: This is the most important part. Tell yourself, “It’s okay that you feel this way.” It doesn’t really matter what you say as long as you take a few seconds to truly allow yourself to do nothing. Most often you subconsciously feel guilty for doing nothing when you know you should be working. It is that split between wanting to do something and instead doing something else that causes stress and anxiety. This is worthy of an entirely new post actually. For example, when you are cramming for a final and actually studying/working, there is a split between the amount of work you are doing & feel you can do before the test starts and the amount you think you should have done by the time the test starts (desired work time >actual work time).
  • Investigate: Psychoanalyze yourself for a brief second and find out why you feel this emotion. In other words, expand on the “because” part of “Recognize.” Does this happen all the time? Are you the most productive when you are stressed and see a deadline approaching? Do you subconsciously know that and that’s why you often see yourself working at the last minute? These are only examples, as you should ask yourself the questions that you feel are important. If this step feels productive and leads you somewhere interesting, grab a journal or create an evernote.com account and write down your thoughts. If you do, one day you could be like me, a full time college student slash blogger!
  • Non-resistance: Take in a deep breath for three seconds. Let it out in the same amount of time. Tell yourself that you are going to let your body and mind feel whatever it would like for now. This is the part when any leftover stress and anxiety slowly fades away. Acceptance and non-resistance are a one-two punch to completely accept and let go of the negative emotions holding you back from starting your work.
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