I would like to give my view of acceptance, which I would like to call TOTAL acceptance. Simply because in many cases not all aspects are simultaneously accepted. Especially when it comes to the feelings/emotions that had arisen in a certain moment/situation.
Total acceptance for me is: Accepting all that is there at a given moment. This includes all aspects, so the actions, responses and feelings/emotions.
Now I noticed that when it comes to acceptance, its an common used word but it rarely is TOTAL. People say I accept, but yet they struggle. How is it possible? Often I noticed it’s because they only accept aspects of a situation, and not accept ALL aspects that are there with that situation. Also often, I see people mistake acceptance with the emotion/feeling of neutral/indifference/not caring.
I post this because someone I know was struggling with a situation, though she was thinking she was accepting the situation. This brought this subject to my attention.
The situation is that she has no contact with her son, and therefore also has no contact with her grandchildren who are in the child time of their lives now. She thinks about it daily, and often when she sees small kids or other grandmothers talking about taking care of their grand-children.
Now she said she has come to acceptance that it’s the situation that at this moment it’s not for her to experience this (seeing, being and doing grandmother things with her grandchildren). Though she is struggling with it.
So I asked her: “You said you have accepted it totally?”
She said: “Yes”
I asked: “How come you are struggling then”
She said: “Because I feel disappointed and a sense of pity about this”
I asked: ”And when you feel these thing about this situation does it mean that you don’t accept it?”
She said: “Well then it must be that I don’t accept this happening, maybe I don't accept, but I think I do.”
I said: “You look at this situation as though it is just one aspect. Can’t you see the different aspects of it? Think about it.”
She said: “Now you say, there are actually 2 aspects of it. One the event/happening itself of that I am not seeing my grandchildren. And two, the feeling that is within me about it. The first aspect feels more like the mental or logical part, and the second one more like the emtional part of it.”
I said: “You are right. And you are struggle because one of the 2 aspect in this situation you don’t accept. I guess you can see which one now?”
She said: “yeah but that feeling must mean that I don’t accept”
I asked: “What is the feeling you should have according to you that would indicate that you do accept?”
She said: “I then must have feelings on this that are neutral or indifferent about it”
I said: “And that is your problem, or better said not acceptance about this situation. You have build about an idea that how acceptance of something, should translate into a certain feeling. Which basically means not accepting if there is an feeling/emotion that is different then a feeling of neutral or indifference. You don’t accept your feeling/emotion about this situation”
She said: “Now you say so, I see it. I just have to accept that I have feelings/emotions about it that say “I can’t accept this.”
I said: “Exactly. Intellectual you can accept it, but your emotions around it are that you can’t accept it. So accept that you feel that you don’t accept. Accept that you can’t accept. If in this situation you can accept both aspects, your current partial acceptance of it will go to TOTAL acceptance.”
She said: “Wow, I never thought of it like this.”
Anyways, I spoke to her some time later about it. To ask if it also helped her in the long run, and fortunately it did for her.
I asked her what she learned about it for her. She gave me an astonishing (imo) profound list:
- Acceptance is not the same as the emotion/feeling of indifference, not caring, aloofness or neutrality;
- When one thinks about how something “should be”, one fails to see what is. And when one fails to see what is, one can’t accept what is because one doesn’t see all the aspects of the situation.
- Accepting includes that one accepts that one has feelings or thought that one can’t accept it. So accepting also means accepting that one can’t accept, which then is acceptance again.
This I just wanted to share. And I loved how she ended it with that paradox. Writing it, I remember that often when I totally felt I understood something, when it came to “spiritual” things. It often was a total paradox.
Anyways, thanks for reading.
Who or what is the authority figure, that possess volition, free will or power in you?
I couldn't find one. Just an ego thinking it possesed the above qualities, yet in all my experiences I saw it didn't have any of those qualities. Nor any other quality.