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The Power of Acceptance

Sometimes, there’s a frustration in your gut that’s your constant companion.

It comes from that thing you can’t come to terms with. It dilutes your joy. It holds you back.

Here’s today’s game changing principle: You can only move forward when you can accept the things you can’t change.

It seems simple and obvious. So why is it soooo hard to do?

Because you really want and need something to be different. Because it’s unfair, or it’s not supposed to be that way. Because it feels like God let you down. Because you tried so hard. Because it worked out for others, but not for you. Because that person is driving you crazy!

Someone or something has your emotions tied up in a big snarl. It’s become personal.

The concept of accepting is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox of therapists, coaches, recovery groups, and self-help experts.

Stephen Covey is famous for the way he articulated it. He described circles that contain the things you can and can’t control. (See the illustration below.) He wrote, Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. . . Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control.”

Recovering addicts in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have found that it’s immensely powerful to say it this way, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to work on acceptance. Let’s break it down.

Start by writing out what’s bothering you, what you can control and influence about that situation or person, and what you can’t control or influence.

Then write what it would look like for you to accept what you can’t control or influence in this instance. It’s important to realize that accepting doesn’t mean changing your opinion. You can still not like or approve of a situation or person. It is what it is. They are who they are.

Give yourself time, space and grace to grieve what cannot be.

Try to get to the bottom of why this is hard for you to accept. Journal. Talk to a friend, therapist or coach. (Like me!)

Pray. Listen to God. Trust that He is good. Remember that even Jesus had to learn to accept. (Heb. 5:8, Mark 14:36)

Get involved more with the things you can do. It will keep your mind off the things you can’t.

In closing, there's another saying in AA that’s hugely effective: “Let go and let God.”

When you surrender, it actually creates room for God to work. It also makes space for you to grow. If you hold on, you’re getting in the way. But when you accept, it opens the door for hope!

Let’s work on this together. Email me if I can help. I believe in you!

Circles of Control by Claire Newton. #1 is what you can control. #2 is what you can influence. #3 is what you cannot control.

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