Learning Through Acceptance

· October 29, 2015

The most meaningful changes in life start happening when we accept things the way they are. That includes the acceptance of the things life has given us and acceptance of ourselves.

In our changing lives, there are many situations in which the only thing we can do is accept things as they are. What happens when we refuse to accept how things are?

When we resist change, we’re fighting against things that are out of our control; things that we can’t do anything to avoid, because it’s something that already happened or is already happening around us. Denial only makes us suffer.

The clearest situations in which acceptance plays a fundamental role are in death, love and heartbreak. How can we deny death and falling in or out of love? Well, sometimes we do. We insist on staying in denial about these realities, which we can’t do anything to avoid or change.

It’s not about good or bad situations. It’s about realities that are an inherent part of being a human being. They’re a part of our lives. Whether they produce joy or sadness, the emotion and its intensity shows just how significant that experience is to us.

If you’re not strong enough to establish your own conditions in life, you should accept the ones that life offers.
-T.S. Eliot

girl-with-balloons

The need to understand

Our natural reaction to things that are out of our control is to attempt to give it an answer, to find an explanation that gives us some relief. We feel a need to understand everything that happens in our lives.

We forget that the way we understand events will be the result of our interpretations, experience, and the explanations we’re using to convince ourselves that it is, in fact, our reality.


To be surprised or in awe is to begin to understand.
José Ortega y Gasset-

We get lost in the reason and in the words, when ultimately, every truth and reality is within us. They can be found in what we feel, in the emotions we experience. To move towards the feeling that our own body is trying to show us is to accept the reality of what’s happening to us. 

The tendency to go towards reasoning in order to explain the way certain things are, like love for example, is an obstacle we set for ourselves and prevents us from accepting reality.

Understanding is a blank tablet on which nothing is written.
-Aristotle-

What happens when we don’t accept what’s happening to us? 

When we bury those feelings that we don’t want to deal with, we’re denying our own existence. We do this in an attempt to overcome sadness or because we’re afraid our feelings will cause us too much pain, pain that we don’t think we can sustain or face.

We’re burying our own essence. We’re leaving many of our emotions jammed up inside when they should be freed, lived and experienced.

When we do this, we’re forgetting a crucial part of our humanity. We’re not accepting our vulnerabilities, believing that we’re above them.

The body is responsible for giving us warning signs so we can free everything that’s bottled up inside (rage, sadness, anger, fury, etc.). When we don’t, our energy is also bottled up inside, and as a result sickness and disconnections appear with ourselves and our happiness.

hand-on-cracked-ground

The road to acceptance

Personal development and learning occurs when we’re willing to accept our feelings and emotions just as they are, without passing them through a filter of reason that modifies, suppresses or dims them.

We can keep in mind that reason offers an explanation to what’s happening, but when we get stuck in it, we’re diverting our attention from reality.

True learning happens when we’re willing to accept and let ourselves feel each one of the emotions that emerge from each circumstance we live through.

That’s how we transform, following the flow of life. Since everything we deny and refuse to accept will force us to experience a disconnection with ourselves, and everything that it implies.

When we accept the inevitable facts in our lives, we can feel sadness with great intensity. But feeling it is precisely what liberates us from it, frees us to keep moving forwards and make room for new emotions and experiences.

The moment we begin accepting what’s happening in our lives, we’ll begin to accept ourselves. We’ll be prepared to forgive others and ourselves, keep moving towards new experiences, let energy bloom and feel alive.

Reason hasn’t taught me anything. Everything I know I’ve learned through the heart.
-Leon Tolstoi-