What is Acceptance?
What does this word make you think? Giving-up? Putting up with? Resignation?
Psychologically-speaking acceptance is different. Acceptance is when you make a choice to stop struggling with something because you realise you can’t control it. You can’t control the weather, so most people don’t try.
The same can be said for your thoughts, feelings and what goes on in your body. These things just happen.
And a funny thing happens when you practice accepting what you can’t control – you start to feel more at peace.
Letting go of unhelpful thoughts is tricky. Your mind is a problem-solving machine. It’s often trying to fix, push away and get rid of stuff it doesn’t like. This can include emotions like fear, anger, guilt, hurt and sadness. It can also be physical pain and discomfort.
Let me ask you this. Have you ever been successful in getting rid of a feeling you didn’t like?
Yes, but how long did you get rid of it for?
The harsh truth is that no one can permanently get rid of emotions. You can only delay them.
The cost of delaying or trying to get rid of thoughts and feelings is that tension builds up. You get more stressed. You can develop more frequent anxiety. Your mood starts to get low. You feel more irritable and unable to concentrate. Once this happens, you are more likely to put stuff off, worry, avoid things or try to over-compensate.
In fact, you end up doing stuff that takes you further away from what you want from life.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of CBT that focuses more on using mindfulness skills to help you be more open to what shows up. You learn to use these skills to help you engage with a life that YOU WANT to live.
ACT is different to traditional CBT in some ways. It has a different philosophy, which is based on functional contextualism. On the other hand, they have lots of similarities.
Acceptance-focused CBT helps you make bolder choices. It helps you connect with meaning and fulfilment. Therapy gets you to focus on what you want beyond the pain of stress, anxiety and depression. You work towards building a new and more rewarding life.
The remarkable thing is that once you stop focusing on getting rid of your pain, it becomes much less significant.
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Learn more about ACT
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) can teach you many useful skills in psychological acceptance.