Today I learned ACCEPTANCE. Again! For some reason I’ve had this belief that with acceptance comes happiness, when what really happens is by allowing acceptance, I can turn my focus to the things that make me happy…
The death of my Dad seems like the hardest thing I’ve faced in my life, thus far. By applying my initial beliefs of acceptance to this situation would mean that I become happy about his death. Sounds ridiculous, right? But how many things to I apply this way of thinking to? In my past I would have told myself things like “He’s in a better place”, or “I’m grateful for the time I had with him”. These are all true statements of acceptance, but as the final result, not the initiation stage.
Another example is when my son told me he was going to live at his Mom’s house full time when he turned 18, which is arriving this April. Utilizing the belief that acceptance equals happiness would mean I would feel upbeat and excited about his decision, which was quite the opposite of my initial internal reaction.
Both of these situations brought intense, very unhappy pain. And this is where the twist comes in…….
For me, Acceptance is not a decision so much as a path… A sizable chunk of that path is allowing the sadness, frustration, anger… Whatever emotions appear. Allowing the pain is where healthy acceptance applies.
With regards to my son (for the purposes of this writing let’s call him ‘jerk-boy’… lol, just kidding), once I allowed the pain of hearing his decision flow through me, which took the better part of three days, and it still sneaks up on me like the hiccups as we approach April, I’m able to remember my feelings of respect for him for talking to me man-to-man about the subject. I’m able to gives myself an at-a-boy for being the parent I’ve been. I’m able to remember I didn’t move back from Wisconsin to obtain 50% custody for his benefit as much as I did for mine, because I couldn’t imagine not being involved in his growing up. But none of these positive things truly come to fruition until I first accept whatever emotion it initially causes me. I can fake like the good thoughts & feeling are there, but everything is masked by the un-dealt with emotions, so nothing will feel real. That’s because it isn’t!
I’ve spent so much time trying to skip the allowance (acceptance) of emotions to flow through me and jump right into acting as if. Acting as if everything is as I would choose it. Acting as if I’m great with everything. Acting as if nothing bothers me. I’ve acted as if myself right into a recovery program, and thank God I did!
Now with regards to Dad, I haven’t faced anything similar to this…even though acceptance starts with me allowing myself to feel the pain of the never’s, (Never seeing his physical body as I knew him. Never being able to call him on the phone. Never putting together a silly video to make him laugh. And so on…), it isn’t something that will be better someday. I am realizing the more I accept sadness as being my overall state of mind, the more good I see in life. I’m starting to really feel that he is in a place to be awed, that I am so very grateful & honored to be able to call him my Father and I can still talk to him and he will respond to me….
This situation seems so much different than any others I’ve faced because it doesn’t carry that doom & gloom feeling. I feel sad. Sometimes very sad. By allowing myself this emotion of sadness I don’t feel negative towards life. In fact I feel very blessed and grateful for my life, my family & friends, my work, the passions of mine that are coming to life, along with all the love and support I am receiving. Heck, I’m even grateful for Jerk-boy! (Lol, always grateful for him!!). I’ve never felt sadness and gratitude at the same time before.
I know that regardless of the situations I face in life, if first & foremost I accept whatever I’m feeling inside as being exactly perfect, acceptance is well on its way.