I was at the gym the other day when a trainer approached me. She started questioning my plan for the day’s workout and how many times a week I come to the gym. I have gone through this experience before so I knew she was probably looking for a new client. My first thought was to brush her off. The second thought was, “let’s see where this goes, I have some extra time today.” So I decided to go along with it. We talked about my routine exercises and then she asked if I was ready to try something new. Well, that’s a big question.
Trying ‘new’ means preparing your mind and body for a new experience, opening your mind to suggestions, and ultimately taking the action. Once I decided to accept her invitation, the benefits became clear. She showed me a couple of new ab workouts along with some mobile stretching to release tension. By accepting her invitation and turning it into action, I learned a new workout to incorporate in my routine. Change!
Half the battle is acceptance. In the above mentioned scenario, it was an easy step. But when it comes to accepting life situations like rejection, failure, loss, or denial we find ourselves ruminating about the ‘what if’s’. Ultimately, this leads to blaming ourselves and others, and hurting our self-esteem.
Radical acceptance is not easy. It is acceptance without judgments, labels, or without assigning blame. Radical acceptance allows us to not get stuck in a situation, thought, or emotion. It allows us to think about options available to us and take necessary action which can lead to change. Agreed, it’s easier said than done.
Resistance to accepting a situation comes from the need to protect yourself. It could be protecting yourself from failure or from a person. It could come in the form of ‘not giving in’. Most of the times we equate acceptance with agreeing to something. Radical acceptance does not mean that you agree with the situation, but rather that you acknowledge it and examine your options.
Taking action is crucial if you want to see change. The goal is to take one step at a time and see where it takes you, but sometimes you may need a little help and that’s OK. You might struggle to keep it going after taking that first step. We all do. You might want to give up because there is no sign of change. Remember, change is a process.
What Can You Do?
- Focus on your strengths
- Be realistic; set goals that are achievable by you. Don’t try to fit-in all the time
- Take one small step at a time. For example, if you want to look for a new job, start with updating your resume today.
- Get help from a professional. Nowadays there are a lot of resources online. Continuing with the above example; research how to write a winning resume and incorporate some of the suggestions.
- Find a cheerleader for yourself: a friend, a partner, a colleague; anyone who can say “You can do it.” Anyone who will remind you of your intentions and assist.
- Be kind and patient with yourself and others. Change is a process and it can take more time than expected.
- Give yourself credit for initiating the change. Reward yourself for completing every step. Celebrate small successes.
Mantra: Acceptance, Action, Change
We can use this mantra “Acceptance, Action, Change” in situations when we have to make a decision like: looking for a new job, moving to a new place, getting engaged or married, going to the gym, self-care, enrolling in college, career change, standing up for yourself, asking for and getting help that’s needed. Go ahead, take that first step. You can do it!
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros