In my coaching work and during my Italy Retreats for Women, one of the happiness ‘sweet life’ principles we focus on is Acceptance. Many of you may understand the word non-judgment more than acceptance, but acceptance implies more actively allowing what is.
Have you ever noticed that judging yourself and others has become an insidious habit? It’s a form of criticism that rolls off the tongue unconsciously. In this short video I recorded in front of one of St. Francis’ cell in Cortona, Italy I encourage you to become conscious of your own judgments, as that is the first step in transforming your life into the ‘sweet life’, la dolce vita. As I listen to people talking, it’s amazing to hear all the complaints and attacks of others. Our criticisms and judgments of others affect us more than they do others. And of course, harsh judgments of yourself are detrimental physically and emotionally.
Simply stated, to be accepting does not mean grin and bear it nor does it mean resignation. So often, we think that if we are accepting, nothing will change. But as Psychologist, Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
Acceptance actually allows CHANGE.
What is acceptance? Acceptance is seeing what is. Allowing of what is without judgment, or resistance or pushing it away. It’s neither categorizing yourself as good or bad, right or wrong. It just is the way it is. Remember 3 words that describe acceptance IT JUST IS.
Acceptance is a willingness to perceive reality where neither approval nor disapproval plays a part.
Some people are concerned that acceptance means resignation, that they would be forced to live with a situation, or not try to progress. OR Being passive and weak, or Allowing mistreatment from others. Staying stuck in an unhappy job, relationship, house, town, anything.
However, Acceptance is NOT RESIGNATION, nor does it mean MEAN to Grin and bear it.
It is, as Tara Brach says in her book, Radical Acceptance, that on this path of ACCEPTANCE, rather than striving for perfection, we discover how to love ourselves into wholeness.”
Some of my favorite quotes about judging are:
Love is the absence of judgment.–Dalai Lama XIV
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change –Carl Rogers
Judging a person does not define who they are…it defines who you are.
Be careful placing judgment upon others, for you know not what battles they are fighting
Finally, try this 2-step formula for accepting and not judging yourself or others as wrong, which would allow CHANGE.
1st Step: PAUSE. Allow A moment of SILENCE so the chatter or judgments in the back of your mind begin to quiet. In that silence of non-judgment, there is healing. In PAUSING, We touch the FREEDOM that is possible in any moment when we are not resisting.
2nd Step: ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT IS: Become conscious of your judgments. Seeing what is. Recognize how you are thinking and speaking. Consciously choose to relax into and accept something about yourself or someone else. No one needs to be perfect.
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.