True Acceptance is More than Acknowledging Reality
When I first started working with children in 2010, it was meant to be a step towards financial independence while waiting for university to start.
I remember my first day as if it were just yesterday. Children were screaming and running around, doing pretty much whatever they wanted, giving little heed to anything I said. By the third day, I was ready to quit. However with the support and guidance of my colleagues and supervisor, I stuck it out. I learned to accept and see past the challenges and moved towards working out solutions for the long haul.
To this day, that has been a decision that I have never regretted; a decision that not only ignited my passion to work with kids, but one that paved the way to many more life lessons.
At the start of this year, during our annual in-house CareNights curriculum review, I got the opportunity to pass on what I had learned. I was tasked to design a lesson for the children on the art of acceptance. When I first crafted the lesson plan, I thought of acceptance as simply the ability to acknowledge the reality of a situation. However, as I reflected back on my own experience, I soon realised that a key element of that definition was missing.
True acceptance is the ability to acknowledge the reality of a situation WITHOUT RESISTANCE. We don’t have to like, want, choose or even support the situation. We simply recognise that it is what it is.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that we can’t work on changing things, or that we have to accept that a situation is going to be that way forever. Instead, the beauty of acceptance is that it steers us away from the negatives, the “what ifs” and “could bes”, and creates a positive mindset that allows us to focus on how to move forward.
While it is easy for me to sit in front of my computer and type these things, the truth is: acceptance isn’t something that comes naturally for me. Though it still is very much a work in progress for me, here are three tips that have helped me (and hopefully now you) to make an active choice towards practising true acceptance:
- Learn to let go
- Value courage and effort over accomplishments
- Practise positive self-talk