Practicing acceptance

In the spirit of happiness and a life of authenticity, the practice of acceptance is paramount.  Navigating self-acceptance is one of the more challenging aspects of my own well-being and I suspect for others as well.  The conflict arises when we are unable to accept where we are with emotional and spiritual development while simultaneously accepting there is potential to continue to grow and be better.

Acceptance is about acknowledging that we are complex beings full of emotions, experiences, and feelings that create our sense of self.  It is about understanding those instances of insecurity, uncertainty, fear, and separation in addition to experiences of joy, love, and hopefulness.  It’s about accepting the reality of all those things without judgement or blame.  Often we think that when we react a certain way or have a certain response, we must launch into the “why?”

The moment we start adding qualifying statements about who we are or what causes us to respond a certain way…we are trying to explain, rationalize, and perhaps even justify ourselves.  When we add these types of disclaimers to our interactions and experiences, we unknowingly add a stamp of rejection to our being which creates the conflict.  We create internal chatter that who we are, what we are experiencing, and our feelings/emotions are not okay.

Accepting the reality of any given circumstance, situation, or interaction initiates a true perspective and shifts the entire experience.  It is no longer about judging, blaming, or punishing.  It is about gaining understanding and empowering ourselves with knowledge and deciding how we are either going to stay in that moment or act on a potential.

As the practice of acceptance becomes more fluid, other practices will harmonize in a beautiful symphony of love, understanding, compassion and kindness.  And when we experience these things deep within our being, the abundance will flow through our lives and help saturate all of our surroundings.

Afternoon by the river

Afternoon by the river

 

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How do you experience happiness?

 

If we all can agree that one thing we want is to be happy, then the next question to ask is “How do you want to experience that happiness?”  Often we get caught up in this idea of things that will make us happy.  And most of the time those things are tied to money in some way whether it’s a better paying job, ability to go on vacation, a bigger house, a new car, and so on.

But if you can put all those material things aside and think about how you truly experience happiness, what does that look like for you?  There may be a material component but if you start examining the experience and impact of that experience; the material things will become less significant and ultimately less powerful.

Another pitfall that happens when it comes to discussion of happiness is the one related to circumstances. This happens when we think certain people make us happy or we are only happy in specific environments or even only on certain days (insert TGIF).  We also get caught up in constant comparison of other people and their circumstances.  When we deny our own successes and potential under the umbrella of criticisms and insecurity, we reinforce a life of separation and fear.

The question is simply stated but the answer, I suspect, is as complex as we are individuals.  How we experience happiness is not something that can be manufactured, prescribed, or taught.  It cannot be purchased, bartered, withheld or stolen. It’s not about denying pain or heartache. It is about using our positive experiences to create a natural state of resiliency that sustains us through that pain and heartache.

Happiness is about presence, perception, and engagement.  It’s about being able to recognize blissful moments and understand their significance.  It is about accepting a reality of possibilities that include an infinite source of love and kindness.  It’s about being intentional with your interactions every day.

When we start perceiving our happiness as an experience that we create versus something that is done to us or given to us, we become more confident that it can be sustained even in the face of sorrow, grief, or heartache.  And even more importantly, when we are able to perceive the reality of what generates happiness within our life, we begin to experience that reality in more abundance than we could have ever imagined.

River Edge

 

 

 

Setting goals without creating limits

What was the last goal you set for yourself?  Did you make it?  How did you feel afterwards?  Was your success of that goal the motivation for your next one?

Goals are critical in assisting us with determining a direction that we want to go and ultimately sustain a level of satisfaction and contentment within our life.  And the process of setting goals is a very empowering, as long as we don’t set ourselves up with limits at the same time.

This happened to me the other day as I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill.  I had set a goal to work out for 30 minutes.  The problem was not the goal of working out for 30 minutes, it was the fact that as soon as my fancy little timer hit 30:00, I immediately hit the “STOP” button.  As I cooled off and got my heart rate down, it occurred me that I could easily have worked out for another 10 or 15 minutes or engaged in another type of exercise. In my head, all I had to do was the 30 minutes.  It didn’t matter that I could do more just as it would not have mattered if I had started working out and realized that I could only do 15 minutes that day.  The goal of working out and moving my body had become my limitation of working out for only 30 minutes.

This is a very concrete example, but it lends to thinking about more abstract goals in your physical, emotional, and spiritual life.  Have you ever created a goal for yourself and simply stopped when you reached a particular finish line?  Or perhaps you didn’t meet the goal and quickly negated all of the work you had successfully accomplished because it didn’t meet the ideal outcome that you had created in your mind. You have to consider if a particular goal results in feeling exhausted and relieved or if the goal instills satisfaction and inspiration within you.

When we set a goal that speaks to our deepest intuition, the simple acts of working towards it create satisfaction within themselves. It is crucial to create an environment that is compassionate, understanding, and realistic versus critical, absolute, and judgmental.

As with anything, this is a practice.  The next time you are working on a particular goal, remind yourself of your intention, your abilities, and your resources.  This establishes guidance, strategies, and determines direction.  Goals are meant to be specific and measurable, but they are not meant to limit or restrict us.

When we start with the awareness of ourselves and all of our amazing potential, our actions become more fluid and goals become our new reality.  When we do all of this, we can easily increase experiencing life with more Love, Understanding, Compassion, and Kindness.  After all, a little LUCK is always helpful when we are working on any goal.  🙂

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