“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”
― Pema Chödrön
Acceptance is an interesting thing. We know it is important. Not only do spiritual and religious teachings embrace the practice of acceptance, it feels right when we do it. How do we know when to accept things as they are and when to apply our will? When is it appropriate to fight for something we are passionate about versus trying to let it go? Early recovery is all about acceptance for everyone involved, which can be extremely challenging in the beginning.
One thing that is difficult to keep in perspective is that everyone must be responsible for themselves. We can’t change each other. Imagine if we had all the energy we exhausted trying to take care of others and practiced self-care. The best thing we can do for those we love is take care of ourselves. If we eat right, rest, exercise, nurture ourselves emotionally and spiritually; it increases the patience, energy, and love we have available for others. This is one way to truly practice acceptance and it benefits us and those who we are invested in.
Growth comes with some kind of discomfort and/or pain. There is really no way to grow without experiencing some kind of struggle. This is just a fact of life. Some avoid discomfort at all costs. How do we learn to increase our ability to tolerate discomfort? We should rejoice when these opportunities to grow arise, yet it is common to follow a path of least resistance. What can we learn from people who agitate us? How would our lives change if we made self-care a top priority and let others be responsible for themselves? What would change for us if we resisted behavior that was counter-productive and became more comfortable with being uncomfortable?
Recovery is all about acceptance. It’s about being gentle with ourselves rather than being over critical. It’s about becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Everyone is going to have good and bad days and we need to embrace both as they are equally valuable. The more we learn to accept ourselves for who we are, the more likely we are to let others in. The more we let others in, the stronger our recovery will be. The best thing we can do for our recovery is to make self-care a top priority.
Acceptance of others is difficult. Acceptance of ourselves is even more difficult. Learning to lean into an uncomfortable situation and learn from it is growth, don’t pass by the opportunities. Acceptance is an important part of changing your life for the better and the good news is your worth it!