As is always the case, we talk about the things we ourselves are working through. In fact, I heard Kyle Cease once say that we should pay attention to the advice we give others, it’s usually for ourselves. So with that all being said, this may just end up being for myself solely.
This concept we’ve been considering this month about how to Be Uncomfortable has been a real mind-bender at times. When most of us have learned our whole lives that discomfort is something to basically be avoided at all costs, it takes time to come around to the truth that discomfort has and always will be how we learn and grow.
While I was out on the trail Sunday, where I frankly have all my best awarenesses, I had an epiphany about acceptance. If you’re like me, there are concepts in life that you simply struggle with. Acceptance has been a lot like the word surrender. I thought I understood all the words that someone was saying to me in regard to:
Being gentle with yourself
And yet I was left confused. I was left feeling resistant.
The questions that invariably surfaced were along the lines of:
If I accept (myself, this situation, problem etc) then am I just giving in? Why would I do that?
If I surrender to (this situation, problem, attitude) then am I just letting life have its way with me? I am not a quitter.
If I am gentle with myself doesn’t that mean I am coddling myself, not pushing myself? Why would I do that? I want to grow in this life! Sheesh.
You get the picture. And each and every one of these have worked their way through until I finally was able to get it in the spirit of how it is intended. The way those who were sharing these concepts with me were always trying to impart.
I kept thinking to myself, I am a fairly educated woman, why is this so hard for me? What am I missing? Why can’t I understand a simple statement that doesn’t have a single word in it that I do not understand?
It’s like hearing a joke and while not confused by the words but you just don’t get it. AT ALL.
That’s been me. And it actually left me feeling bad about myself. Until merely 5 days ago I got it. I wrote it down to be sure I wouldn’t forget too. When you have these hard-won epiphanies you need to write them down. Your mind isn’t accustomed to them yet so you need to give it time.
“Transformation begins with the radical acceptance of what is,” according to Danielle LaPorte. In fact, I even shared this quote on our blog a few weeks ago and didn’t fully get it even then.
When I got home on Sunday this is what I wrote in my journal, where all things important and nonsensical are recorded: “Acceptance. Radical acceptance isn’t surrender. If I accepted myself fully in this moment it would be to acknowledge and feel everything as it currently is. It would be without rationalization, clarification, expectation or justification. Just as it is right this very freaking uncomfortable minute.”
And now I would add to that, then breathe and realize that the acceptance of this momentary reality, although painful, did not, in fact, kill me.
And before I try to jump to the fixing and tunneling my way out of this freshly uncovered hell, let’s just sit for a moment in it. This uncomfortable feeling is only here so it can tell me something. A something that I haven’t wanted to face or feel. It’s so barely hidden under the surface that I have to be busy, and doing, and reading, and Instagramming and cleaning (OK I am not cleaning but some of you are) and planning and scheduling, and worrying and lamenting so I can avoid it all the time.
I will tell you that my fragile, little, petty, pompous, arrogant, childish ego didn’t like this for one single solitary second. And it had lots and lots of feelings about it.
This, my friends, is what acceptance is. And for once I was able to acknowledge it and be with it and know what it is. Turns out it’s not giving up or giving in, it’s acknowledging the situation just as it is. Where I have been slacking off and also, if we can be generous and gentle with ourselves, where we have been doing the best we can even if our best isn’t quite yet enough to push us over the hurdle. But we know we are getting closer because we now are able to look at this challenge, problem etc without blinders on. We can see it for what it is and also what it is not.
It is not an opportunity for blaming or shaming or guilting ourselves.
It is also not an opportunity for blaming, shaming or guilting others.
It is a way to say, “Welp, maybe why you have not gotten to your goal is because you’re inconsistent at times.” And to take that one step further, it may be because you are always last on your list. Or you’ve been resistant to acknowledge this is an area of weakness and you need to give yourself a little extra tutoring. Maybe that idea has been a little too humbling until now.
It’s so much easier for all of us, myself fully included, to look outside of ourselves for something or someone to lay this on. That makes us feel better for 15 minutes and then we realize that if the power is outside of us, then we are also power-LESS.
But we are not powerless, we just play small sometimes. We pretend we are less capable than we are. We maybe haven’t yet fully tested all our capabilities so they still feel a little wobbly. That’s OK.
Power comes with accountability but it doesn’t need to come with blame. And my toddler equivalent competence when it comes to acceptance is realizing that we can only ever solve a problem if we can truly figure out what it is. We can only ever resolve conflict if we know what it’s really about. We can only ever find peace when we know what’s truly causing our unrest.
First acceptance, then transformation. Wisdom comes from lessons, and lessons seem to frequently come with some degree of being uncomfortable.
Funny how that works.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G