In this episode, discover the two roads on the acceptance path and how to stop the vicious cycle of discontent to achieve inner peace.
Listen to a short guided mediation on acceptance and download some techniques, and strategies that will help enhance your sense of acceptance.
Learn how to retrain your brain to silence that voice of discontent and learn to be okay with the way things are.
There are many ways you can retrain your mind to break the cycle of negativity that keeps you from acceptance and inner peace. Here are some suggestions that have been helpful for others. If you try one for a while and are not successful, choose another.
Remember that your old patterns of thinking are just that, patterns. They are habits you learned over time, which means it will take time to unlearn them and develop new, healthier ways of thinking. Don’t give up but keep moving forward.
Make The Choice Every Day To Let It Go
Whether you are trying to accept a difficult loss, a complete and unwanted change in your lifestyle, or a minor annoyance that ruins your day, you always have two choices. You can resist the change and remain unhappy. Or, you can let it go and move on.
You cannot change things that have already happened. There is no "undo" button for life’s choices and events.
Silence The Obsessive Thoughts
Many of us have a constant, inner monologue running 24/7, rattling off all the things that need to change, all the things we need to do, all the ways we need to improve.
As soon as you hear the voice, silence it. Stop the negativity before it can snowball into non-stop blather. Once you are aware of the obsessive thoughts, see if you notice a pattern. What triggers their occurrence?
When you start to notice the stressors that generally trigger them, choose something else to think about. Choose to consider all the things you are grateful for, all the ways you have helped others today, all the little positive moments you have experienced lately.
It will take time to turn obsessively negative thinking into powerfully positive thoughts, but with practice, you can make this shift. When you change your thoughts, you can change your actions. When you start to consider the positive over the negative, you are accepting, and you are at peace.
Try just saying, “It is what it is.”
This mantra is a good way to take yourself out of the situation. It’s not about you. It is what it is. It has nothing to do with how good or bad you are. It is what it is. It doesn’t matter if you wanted something different. It is what it is.
Attaching this mantra to every situation in your life for several days or even weeks helps you break the cycle in which your brain is stuck and enables you to see that your resistance to life and its never-ending changes is what is making you unhappy.
When you decide to accept the moment, whatever it may bring to you and your life, you are at peace. You are no longer labeling things as good or bad, right or wrong. They just are. They just happen.
Experiment with this mantra. See how it works for you. Try it and others out to see what works for you in breaking your cycle of resistance. Once you are more aware of how often you judge and resist life’s occurrences, you can begin to move forward with the understanding of inner peace.
Focus on the beautiful
Spend time each day noticing the ordinary and extraordinary to appreciate all the beauty life has to offer. When you focus on what is missing, you forget to recognize what is present. The earth and its bounty have much to offer in the way of beauty, as do all the people who share it with us. Take time to look around, to look up, to look within. Notice. Observe. Appreciate.
Start small and take a moment at the end of each day to write down one beautiful thing you remember from your day. Is it the sweet taste of fresh berries, the sunlight streaming through the trees, a child’s laughter that turns into a squeal of delight?
These are things you can learn to live for and focusing on the beautiful leaves less room in your mind for the negative thoughts.
Every experience you have is new, even if it’s the same thing you do every day. You are different; the world is different. What you take away as beautiful or meaningful is up to you. Think of the way a child sees the world. For them, everything is new and exciting. Try to look through those eyes, imagining the wonder in each moment.
Learn to say yes
One of the habits we get into when we wall ourselves off from the pain of life is always saying, “no.” No means we don’t have to experience disappointment. No means we won’t do anything to embarrass ourselves. No means others can’t reject us because we reject them first.
When we practice saying yes, we open ourselves up without resistance. Set the parameters that make you feel comfortable (i.e.- Do I feel safe?) Once you have your boundaries, just say yes. When experiences and opportunities come your way, say yes.
What saying yes does is free you. You are free from making the decision, which is fraught with self-doubt and angst. The choice is already made for you. You are free to experience it, learn from it, and move on. It also frees you to fail without consequences.
Things didn’t go so well? That’s okay.
You said yes and did your best; now you can move on. Saying yes can lead you to new, positive habits and people, and help you find the wonder and acceptance you need for inner peace.
Check in every day
When you start to feel that familiar tug back into doubt and fear, it’s because you haven’t connected with yourself in too long. Take time every day to contemplate how you are doing on your journey toward acceptance. This is not a time for judgment but merely a temperature check.
It brings you back to the present and out of the dreaded regret of the past or anxiety of the future. It refocuses you and resets your thoughts. Whether you enjoy meditation or writing in a journal or thinking aloud over a cup of coffee, check in. Notice. Be aware.
Focus on solutions
Complaining accomplishes nothing. Most people think it will make them feel better when, in reality, it makes you feel worse. Take the energy you usually put into complaints and redirect it toward solutions.
Whether you spend five minutes, five days, or five years grumbling about something, it will still be a problem at the end of your complaining. Ask yourself what you can do to solve the problem or move on from the emotion, then act. If there is no solution, then remember your earlier mantra. It is what it is. It’s time to accept and move on.
Acceptance As a Life Skill
The ability to practice acceptance in your life, for yourself, for others, and for the unfortunate circumstances of life, gives you power over your mind.
You can find peace because you know where you stand in the world. Your power of acceptance can provide you with more happiness than anyone or anything else, so start developing this essential life skill to live a happier, more peaceful existence.
Reframing your thoughts can be a complicated process, especially if you have been in the cycle of negativity and doubt for years. With practice and patience, though, you can learn new, healthier habits of mind that will help you accept yourself, others, and life’s circumstances, bringing you inner peace and tranquility that can only be achieved when you let go.