“Acceptance is the key to finding inner peace and true happiness.”
That is the belief of world-renowned spiritual teacher and best-selling author Eckhart Tolle.
And I agree with him.
However, acceptance is one of those concepts that is “easier said than done.”
In this article, I will discuss the following:
- Acceptance vs. Resistance
- How to recognize resistance
- Ways to increase your capacity for acceptance
- How mastering acceptance and letting go of resistance improves your life
Most of us know that acceptance is tough.
We have all had things happen in our lives that are hard to come to terms with.
Maybe even some things that we never got over.
And these feelings of disagreement with what has happened or what is automatically puts us in a state of resistance.
And resistance is a place you do not want to be.
Growth, progress, newness…..these things don’t happen in a state of resistance.
That’s why it is so important to master acceptance.
As Eckhart says, “Acceptance is the key.”
It unlocks locks, opens doors, and invites goodness, abundance, and possibility into your life.
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What acceptance is (and isn’t)
When you look in the dictionary, this is the first definition of acceptance you see:
‘The act of taking or receiving something offered.’
When I read this definition, it really struck me.
All of life is an offering to us.
It is our job to receive what is offered and use it for the greatest good, for ourselves or others.
Mr. Tolle has another valuable saying that applies here:
“Life gives you whatever experience is necessary for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because it is the experience you are having right now.”
The term ‘experience’ here applies to EVERYTHING.
Good, bad, and ugly.
When life hands you a lemon, it knows it’s handing you a lemon because it is what you need now for your personal growth and development.
It’s your job to receive the lemon and figure out how it will make lemonade in your life.
Acceptance is not the same as resignation or passivity.
It’s not a choice to grudgingly accept something and then continue on resenting it.
Instead, it is an active choice to embrace the reality of the present moment.
Embracing reality means accepting what is without judgment.
After all, judgment is another form of resistance.
Acceptance means gently allowing it to be what it is rather than fighting against reality or trying to change it.
How to recognize resistance
Resistance is one of those things that is so engrained within us that we usually don’t realize when we’re doing it.
Any time you feel the need to struggle against, disallow or deny something, you’re in resistance.
Any time you’re bothered, disturbed, or upset by something, you’re in resistance.
This could mean anything from being angry about getting fired from a job to being upset that a cake you baked didn’t turn out.
Resistance occurs because our egos seek to control and manipulate reality to fit our own preferences and desires.
When reality doesn’t match our desires, it creates inner conflict and turmoil.
In his book The Power of Now, Tolle explains that resistance is an inner state of opposition to what is happening in the present moment.
It is the mind’s way of rejecting or fighting against reality, which causes suffering.
According to Tolle, the key to overcoming resistance is to become aware of it and to surrender to the present moment, accepting it as it is.
How to cultivate acceptance for the present
Tolle often emphasizes living in the present moment and letting go of attachment to the past or future to live in acceptance.
But staying present to accept what is can be difficult, even for seasoned professionals.
Practicing presence (and thus, acceptance) takes constant, conscious effort initially.
But, like with any good practice, the more you do it, the better you become at it.
Eventually, you can exist in a state where acceptance is your default mode, arising naturally in response to each moment.
Here are some ways to practice presence and cultivate acceptance in your daily life
1. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness itself is the practice of being fully present in each moment.
Mindfulness helps you become more accepting of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations as passing entities and not defining qualities of your true self.
2. Notice your resistance
When you find yourself suffering in a situation, notice the suffering and ask yourself what you are resisting.
Are you resisting a person, emotion, or circumstance?
Understanding your resistance can help you let go of it.
3. Practice self-compassion
Acceptance of oneself is a crucial component of cultivating acceptance.
Self-compassion means treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness when things are don’t go as planned .
You can read more about self-compassion in my article “Self-Compassion: The Most Important Acquired Skill.”
4. Practice gratitude
Gratitude helps cultivate acceptance by shifting your focus to the positive aspects of your life.
Start a daily practice of identifying things you are grateful for, no matter how small, and your mind will naturally start to gravitate toward the good things in your life when you start to feel suffering.
These are some of the most meaningful ways to cultivate acceptance.
Remember that acceptance is a practice, and it will take time to develop a regular state of acceptance in your life.
Master acceptance and let go of resistance for lasting happiness
We can access a deep sense of lasting peace, lightness, and well-being by mastering acceptance.
We can free ourselves from suffering and experience true happiness that never leaves us, regardless of struggles and hard times.
You see, when you accept everything that comes your way without resistance, you find that happiness is inherent in you.
It doesn’t depend on external circumstances being good or in your favor, because in acceptance, everything is in your favor.
Everything is as it was meant to be.
Nothing is wrong, and everything is acceptable.
An exciting aspect of living in acceptance is when external circumstances are good, pleasing, or beneficial for you.
Then, the inherent happiness you already feel is compounded by the happiness brought by the external, and you’re happiness increases!
And when you live at a baseline of moderate, ever-present happiness, the smallest and simplest things can rocket you into joy.
Getting in your car and hearing your favorite song come on the radio can make you feel like you’re living the best day ever.
The good news is that when mastering acceptance vs. letting go of resistance, you only have to apply yourself to one of these two things to get both.
When you master acceptance, you automatically let go of resistance, and vice versa.
They have an inversely proportional relationship.
Thinking of it this way makes the idea of tackling your resistance, or practicing more acceptance, seem a lot easier.
Remember, acceptance is the antidote to resistance.
Give yourself shots of acceptance every day, and you will soon cease to feel the effects of suffering that so often poison us.
Tell us how you practice acceptance in your life in the comment section.
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