Why I’m Thinking About Acceptance
I’ve been thinking about the topic of acceptance lately. It’s so easy to get stuck in the past, wishing that I were healthy, and whole. I’ve come to realize that wishing for what’s gone is a waste of my precious energy.
I’ve also learned that as I move through different stages of life, what I need to accept keeps changing. It was VERY hard to adjust to not being able to work 5+ years ago. But I still had a job as a full-time mom to give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Now I’m in another new phase of life. My youngest is off to college, and I’m living with my little dog in an apartment. “Now what?” seems to echo through my brain. One thing I have decided, is to really focus on improving my health. So I started a new eating plan to help me release weight.
Also, I’ve been spending more time reading the Bible, praying, and journaling. I’m trying to make sense of, and process my feelings about my children all being adults now. This is especially important for me, since I’m not turning to food to deal with stress.
In this phase of my life, I need to strengthen my relationships as well. I find this to be a struggle. Fatigue keeps me from doing a lot of socializing. Plus, I’m an introvert, and I struggle immensely to put myself out there to meet new people. This is going to take some creativity on my part.
Acceptance Wisdom From Other Sources
Chronic Babe 101
These are some of the ways I’m working on accepting this new stage in my life. As part of that process, I dug out my copy of Chronic Babe 101 by Jenni Grover, because her first chapter is called “It All Starts With Learning To Practice Acceptance” There is so much meat in this chapter, it will keep me busy for quite awhile. It’s well worth your time!
However, I want to focus on an interview between Jenni and Toni Bernhard for this chapter of her book. The following statement by Toni really resonated with me:
I think what I would say to someone is that it’s important to remember that suffering from chronic pain or illness is not a personal failing on your part. We live in a culture where we’re subject all the time to advertising claims and to people around us who think that all we have to do is take this pill and we’ll be fine—or that only people who are older develop health problems. It simply isn’t true.
I’ve really struggled since getting ill, with feeling like a failure as a person, mom, and employee. As if somehow it was my fault for getting ill. But Toni just blows all the uncertainty away with, “We’re in bodies, and bodies can get sick and injured at any time during our life, and it’s not our fault.”
I think that we all just need to keep telling ourselves that our illnesses are not due to our weaknesses, failings, etc. They just happened, because we are people who live in bodies. Only when we stop blaming ourselves for our health issues, can we start to help ourselves improve in health as much as we are able. I really needed to hear this.
Me/CFS Self-Help Guru
Another idea that is helping me with acceptance of my current health, and stage of life is “relaxed effortlessness.” I learned this when I took an online meditation class with Julie at ME/CFS Self-Help Guru. One of the goals was to learn how to move through our days with relaxed effortlessness. Not pushing ourselves to get things done, not rushing, and not saying unkind things to ourselves. Like go with the flow.
The idea of being kind or compassionate with ourselves is also really important for acceptance. All three of the people I’ve mentioned in this post, speak about how important it is for us to give ourselves the same love, and consideration we would give to a close friend. I’m slowly doing better at this. Sometimes I catch myself being mean to me, and I have to change my internal thinking.
I hope that these ideas will help move you closer to acceptance in your lives, just like they have for me. If you have anything to add to these, I’d love for you to share in the comments below. If you would like a Christian faith based resource on acceptance you can read a review here.