My last post was about accepting life in order to change. I would like to delve a little deeper into the practice of acceptance using some strategies and ideas developed by Rick Hanson whose ‘Foundations of Wellbeing’ course I am currently undertaking.
The first step towards accepting your life as it is in each moment is to identify or recognise what you are not accepting. Sometimes this is really challenging because we experience the world through a filter – our mind is conditioned in its interpretations, responses and reactions. It can take great courage and clarity to see things as they really are and to accept that you are responsible for where you find yourself today.
For me the first step towards this clarity was stillness. Sitting in stillness gave me the space to be honest – there was nowhere to hide.
A clue to identifying non-acceptance of something in your life is any kind of anger or righteousness. You will feel this in your body as a physiological response to a situation or person.
Once identified repeat to yourself:
“It’s true that…”
“I surrender to the fact that…”
Hanson suggests ‘lowering your standards for others while raising them for yourself. Not by being more critical of yourself but rather being less critical of others and more focussed on raising your own level of wellbeing and functioning.’
In a work environment that is largely based on human interactions this advice has massive implications for our inner peace and daily interactions with others. So often we default into blaming, judging or criticising others when they don’t live up to our lofty expectations. Collaboration is becoming all the more necessary and vital to student achievement and our teams are made up of diverse personalities and backgrounds. We often struggle against this wonderful mix when people are not exactly like us. If we shift the focus to improving our own functioning while accepting others as they are our wellbeing is raised. When you stop resisting colleagues, students, situations and emotions it starts feeling less difficult.
Accepting difficulties (while making plans to improve the situation) is a lot more peaceful than getting aggravated by them. We forget that we have a choice in how we respond. Can you identify one thing that you wish were different, that you may need to approach with greater acceptance?